Spontaneous origin of … something


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But it’s still a, ur, well, uh, whatever the hell it is.

Seriously, you ought to post a recipe. Ignoring the ID issue entirely, this is cool.

If you have access, the details are available online.

The article you linked to had a link to the journal article, but they wanted money. So I passed.

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G’Day All

A pellet of calcium chloride with copper chloride is submerged in a solution of 1.5 M of sodium carbonate containing hydrogen peroxide, sodium iodide, and starch. The weight of the pellet is 0.20 g with diameter of 6.0 mm. The pellet contains 7% copper(II) chloride. (The pellet has been prepared using Perkin-Elmer press) The initial concentrations of the reagents in the solution are the following: 0.08 M sodium iodide 0.08 M hydrogen peroxide. 10 mL of 2% soluble starch solution was added to the solution. The total volume of the system is 250 mL. The structures form 10 min after mixing all reagents.

Guess what I am doing tomorrow.

Abiogenesis with Emeril - BAM!

It’s clear that if you take any one of the materials out the reaction would not occur, and therefore God must have didit!

But it produces weird growths that, although made purely from inorganic materials, share some of the characteristics of living organisms.

Excuse me, but “starch” sure sounds like an organic ingredient.

They used some experiments without starch. The starch was to detect molecular iodine through the classic formation of the blue-black starch-idine complex.

Hasbro already a patent on this.

It seems as though the argument for ID boils down to: “I don’t understand how it could have happened by itself, therefore it must have been done by some outside agent.” That’s posessing even more hubris than creationists accuse evolution supporters of having.

My gods, this is so cool!!! I’m gonna have to try this. Are these ingrediants readily available?

Count me as highly skeptical. Seems very easy to duplicate, so we should know soon. My guess would be that the setup wasn’t clean.

There was a great furore at the beginning of the last (20th) century about models like this. The field was called “synthetic biology.” Stephane Leduc, one of its best-known practitioners, published his acclaimed THE MECHANISM OF LIFE in 1910! The passion for such stuff died out in the early 1930s with the rise of cell physiology, biochemistry, and genetics. Nobody was under any illusions about these systems being other than simple models. But then, nobody with any sense argued that only G-D can make something complex from something simple.

Hi Folks, I have not been following this Site until now nor do I have the time for other experimentation than economic survival but thought the subject of the subject of inorganic growth worthy of the referal to the ABC Scienc Matters Site URL above.

This describes hairs of silver growing in a concentrated cyanide solution - see page for details. I have various thoughts on this but at the very least it must involve some form of attractive process coupled with diffusion.

Sorry must go. In case the URL above does not show up here it is again. http://www.angelfire.com/space/smat[…]nanobes.html

Regards Gerald Cairns

Sorry, no Video, I didn’t bring the video camera as it’s in being fixed, and I didn’t have time to organize the Departmental digital camera.

Nonetheless I reproduced the experiment, with the following caveats. I used potassium iodide rather than sodium, and I didn’t have a pellet press (a pharmacology department without a pellet press!!!) so I used calcium and copper chloride prssed into a shallow plastic cup to prevent the calcium/copper salts from just dissolving straight away (and yes everything was tissue culture-level clean (ie REALLY clean), with analytical grade reagents and dionized-distilled water.

It worked, more or less. Almost as soon as I put the cup on the bottom of the beaker, strange tentacular funnels began to grow and pump iodine out, I also got the more mushroom-like structures as well, but the tentacles were amazing. The tentacles were brown, and looked like a field of anemones. Unfortunately the oxygen produced in the reaction made the cup float, and when it did that the tentacles broke off. The broken off pieces continued to grow and even “bud”, as was reported. Unfortunately, due to the repeated rising and sinking the really pretty fungoid structures didn’t last very long.

So I have to find a pellet press, and do the whole thing again, this time with rapid recording. I’m also trying to find a heavy cup that wont float, to record the tentacles.

I have asked Ian to video this when he reruns the experiment. If he can and does, I’ll convert that to a Quicktime movie and put it on this site later. It sounds very cool (a word that seems to just insist on being applied to this).

So I have to find a pellet press, and do the whole thing again, this time with rapid recording. I’m also trying to find a heavy cup that wont float, to record the tentacles.

Shot glass maybe? (OK, before you laugh, I was last in a chemistry lab 28 years ago. :-)

I’m also trying to find a heavy cup that wont float, to record the tentacles.

Perhaps you could tape a quarter to the bottom of the cup? It doesn’t look like there’s anything in the solution that would react with the nickel coating on the quarter, or any of the copper inside that might be showing.


I’m in Australia, and we don’t have quarters. I am unsure of the precise metallurgy of our 5 cent pieces, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were reactive in this mixture, also, sticky tape is likey to react with the hydrogen peroxide.

A shot glass is too big, I’m looking at small glass reaction vessels used in microanalysis.

Cheers! Ian

The US quarter is about the same diameter as the Australian 10 cent coin, but the quarter is thinner. Australian ‘silver’ coins are 75% Cu 25% Ni alloyed. The quarter appears to be plated. (I bet the whole world needed to know this.)

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This page contains a single entry by John S. Wilkins published on April 27, 2004 5:43 PM.

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