2022 Earth-Life Science A

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Earth-Life Science
Nakamura Ryuhei  Sekine Yasuhito  Mcglynn Shawn  Jia Tony Z  Hara Masahiko 
Class Format
Lecture    (Livestream)
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon3-4(ELSI-1 205)  Thr3-4(ELSI-1 205)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
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Course description and aims

Why do chemical reactions occur and what controls their kinetics? We will discuss these questions from the viewpoints of geochemistry, electrochemistry, and materials chemistry. In particular, the lecture will focus on fundamental reactions that are essential for understanding the origin of life and are directly related to global energy and environmental issues (e.g., nitrogen and carbon dioxide fixation).

Student learning outcomes

By taking this course, students will acquire state-of-the-art knowledge on the origin of life (more specifically, chemical evolution). By studying the origin of life from multiple perspectives based on thermodinamics, reaction kinetics, electrochmneistry, and polymer chemistry, students will acquire the ability to extract the chemical strengths and weaknesses of each theory.


Origin of life, reaction kinetics, electrochmneistry, and polymer chemistry

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Each of the five faculty members will give two or three lectures, which will include an overview of each field in the origin of life (chemical evolution) and an explanation of the latest topics in the field using PowerPoint presentations.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Origin of elements Explain the mechanism of the birth of the elements.
Class 2 Equilibrium thermodynamics Explain equilibrium thermodynamics.
Class 3 Chemical kinetics Explain Chemical kinetics.
Class 4 Kinetics on electrode reactions Explain kinetics of electrochemical reactions.
Class 5 Membrane energetics Understand the mechanism of membrane-mediated chemical energy conversion.
Class 6 Gio-Bio-electrochemistry Study research trends on bioinspired catalysts.
Class 7 Prebiotic chemistry Study research trends on prebiotic chemical reactions.
Class 8 Perspectives of Entropy Understand entropy and connect this to the second law of thermodynamics
Class 9 surface science Understand the methodology to analyze mineral surfaces.
Class 10 Enzymatic reactions: the chemistry of life Understand the principles of enzymatic reactions.
Class 11 RNA World Study on research trends on RNA world hypothesis.
Class 12 protocell /Dehydration/Rehydration Study on research trends on protocell.
Class 13 Disuccsion 1 From the views of thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, electrochemistry, and polymer chemistry etc, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of origin-of-life theory.
Class 14 Disuccsion 2 From the views of thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, electrochemistry, and polymer chemistry etc, discuss the strengths and weaknesses of origin-of-life theory.

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.



Reference books, course materials, etc.

If necessary, materials will be distributed at the beginning of the lecture and explanations will be given using PowerPoint.

Assessment criteria and methods

Evaluation will be based on the submission of assignments and presentations.

Related courses

  • ELS.C402 : Earth-Life Science B
  • ELS.C403 : Earth-Life Science C

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

There are no specific course requirements, but students should have a basic knowledge of chemistry.



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