Faculty-Affiliate, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Astrobiology, origin of life, organic chemistry, geochemistry, cosmochemistry, exobiology and mineralogy. Professor Arrhenius is an world-renowned expert on the origin and early evolution of ocean-atmosphere, molecular evolution toward life, and surface reactions on minerals. He and his research team attempt to reconstruct possible pathways toward life on Earth by model experiments. Assuming that RNA-like molecules could initially have served both as information carriers and catalysts in the chemical evolution leading to the origin of life, Arrhenius studies traces of biomolecules with these functions left in the earliest record on Earth. His findings extend to the oldest sedimentary rock formations known on Earth (over 3.87 billion years old). Arrhenius's well-known findings include a claim that Earth could have cooled in as little as 10 million years to low enough temperatures to sustain the start of life. Arrhenius' studies of RNA precursor molecules is through the NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training (NSCORT) in Exobiology.Among his landmark papers, Arrhenius has focused on entropy and charge in molecular evolution and the role of phosphates in chemical evolution. In astrobiology, Arrhenius has performed biomarker studies on what are believed to be meteoritic materials from Mars, including phosphates. He is currently involved in a study of organic chemistry and possible prebiological chemistry on Titan.
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