The Narrower General Conditions: Chemistry, Physics, and Physical Chemistry—We Can’t Live Without Them

  • Ulrich C. Schreiber
  • Christian Mayer


The elements which are the main representatives for the development of life are carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and the subordinate sulfur. All of these elements were available in large quantities right from the start. Phosphorus was only made available by meteorites and minerals from the earth’s crust in special circumstances. Reactions that take place between the molecules are subject to various laws of chemistry. Dynamic equilibria, which are accelerated by catalysts, are crucial for subsequent reactions. Besides dilution effects, the increase in entropy and the chirality of the molecules are important factors in organic chemistry.


  1. 1.
    Pasek MA (2017) Schreibersite on the early Earth: scenarios for prebiotic phosphorylation. Geosci Front 8(2):329–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Benner SA (2014) Paradoxes in the origin of life. Orig Life Evol Biosph 44:339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Meierhenrich U (2008) Amino acids and the asymmetry of life. Springer, BerlinCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sugahara H, Meinert C, Nahon L, Jones NC (2018) D-amino acids in molecular evolution in space – absolute asymmetric photolysis and synthesis of amino acids by circularly polarized light. BBA Proteins Proteomics 1866(7):743–758CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Englander SW, Mayne L, Kan Z-Y, Hu W (2016) Protein folding – how and why: by hydrogen exchange, fragment separation, and mass spectrometry. Annu Rev Biophys 45:135–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrich C. Schreiber
    • 1
  • Christian Mayer
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty for BiologyUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany
  2. 2.Faculty for ChemistryUniversity of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

Personalised recommendations