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Scientific Context

One of the major questions in modern physics is how life emerged on Earth and whether it is a general characteristic of our Universe. At the bottom line, life is an extreme complication of chemistry. Thus, the Noble prize winner C. De Duve wrote that life is “a cosmic imperative” as “The general conclusion is that the building blocks of life form naturally in our galaxy and, most likely, also elsewhere in the cosmos. The chemical seeds of life are universal”.

The question we aim to help answering with this project is: Is De Duve’s last sentence really true?

We have now the instruments to tackle this problem and to understand how the blocks of life form, where and when in our Galaxy. In a few words, we can now determine how molecular complexity grows up in space, at its first stages.

SIRC a collaborative research project

The project, granted by the Agence Nationale de la rechercher in 2019, gathers about 12 scientists from 3 laboratories.

There are two complementary experimental teams (LERMA, Cergy–Pontoise (surface reactivity) and PIIM, Marseille (bulk ice reactivity)), and one team expert in astrochemical modeling (and observations) (IPAG, Grenoble). The three teams involved in this proposal have been working separately for several years at the forefront of astrochemistry, on the same fundamental topic: How is the molecular richness of our Universe initiated and propagated?  We believes that only joint efforts of laboratory astrophysics and quantum chemistry, coupled with simulations and observations will be able to answer to the question.

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