This talk examines prominent invocations of the chemistry and origins of life made from the early 1920s to the early 1940s, with an eye toward their later adoption in more sweeping natural histories and representations of scientific organization. It therefore looks most specifically at the work of the astronomer Harlow Shapley, the roots of his ultimate advocacy and popularization of the Oparin-Haldane theory, and his particular attention to the conditions for the possibility of the first emergence of life.
Nasser Zakariya is currently working on the manuscript Towards a Final Story: Time, Myth, and the Origins of the World. His research at CHF examines theorizations and representations of the critical juncture between material and organic evolution.
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