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April 01, 2008 (Vol. 28, No. 7)

Origin of Life Prize

  • Thorough approach
  • : A bit weak in some content areas
How much do you suppose it is worth to solve the issue of the origins of life to the satisfaction of the scientific community? $100,000? $500,000, $1,000,000? Well, the answer is the last number in the series and the anonymous nature of the prize money donation has, unfortunately, put a snag in the efforts to proceed with the contest, so you can’t enter it at this time, but the contest itself is worth noting and (I suspect) it will probably be opened up again soon. The purpose of the contest is to “stimulate research into chaos, complexity, information, probability, self-organization, and artificial life/intelligence theories as they relate directly to biochemical and molecular biological reality.” The four qualifications for winning the grand prize are too detailed to go into here, so I won’t, but from my perspective, they range from difficult to trivial to satisfy. Point number four, for example, seems to have been made by someone who has no knowledge of how enzymes work. Is the contest for you? There’s only one way to determine that – check it out.
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