One of Sasselov's most important contributions in science could turn out to be his expertise in ultraviolet radiation: Sasselov is now designing the UV light in which the world's first synthesized protocell, which he calls "Generation II," is expected to emerge in roughly three years and begin a new tree of life.
Protocell pioneer Matthew Powner has the fresh-faced good looks of an athlete you'd expect to show up at World Cup 2014, and a voice somewhat reminiscent of the "British Invasion." But the relaxed focus he projects signals something profoundly more urgent: Matt Powner has the chemistry of the origins of life on his mind.
"You heard it here first," announced astrophysicist Mario Livio as Harvard biologist and Nobel laureate Jack Szostak told a World Science Festival "Search for Life" gathering on Saturday in New York that he expected to make "life in the lab" in three to five years -- and more likely within three years.
Imagine an alien world ruled by "advanced dinosaurs" as smart as humans—maybe even smarter. Science fiction? Not necessarily, says the author of...