February 18, 2021: Diving into the science on homochirality, Dr. James Tour teaches the core chemistry concepts of enantiomers and chirality, exposing enormous challenges in the prebiotic synthesis and resolution of the molecules needed for life. By digging into the cited video’s only provided reference, Dr. Tour puts ink on paper and shows how the devil is in the details when it comes to proper interpretation of the data. Finally, Dr. Tour touches on the stereoisomeric challenges facing synthetic chemists doing origin-of-life, prebiotic research.
February 20, 2021: In this episode on carbohydrates, Dr. James Tour comes right out of the gate refuting the claimed triviality of biomolecular synthesis. Rather than agree with the claim on the ease of polysaccharide synthesis, Dr. Tour explains the difficulty of their creation, including homochirality and the prebiotic problems facing multiple isomers, blind pathways, and polymerization and positioning. Also, Dr. Tour points out the fallacy of borrowing products from biology in prebiotic syntheses, and the challenge of early Earth blindly working through unfathomable procedures.
6 Building blocks of building blocks
February 22, 2021: In this episode, Dr. James Tour pauses and goes back to the basics, in a most literal sense. The matter at hand is not merely synthesizing the four classes of compounds needed for life – polysaccharides/carbohydrates, proteins, nucleic acids, and lipids – but rather their respective building blocks – monomeric sugars; amino acids; nucleotides; and fatty acids and glycerol. When restricted to prebiotic chemicals and methods, and with no store from which to purchase these building blocks while remembering homochirality, is biomolecular synthesis easy?
And 1-3 David Klinghoffer: Tour got going with this 13-part series of lectures in response to a hapless critic, Dave Farina. As a correspondent quips, “I don’t know who Dave Farina is, but he’s kicked the wrong dog.” Indeed so.