Highlights of American Chemical Society national meeting in Philadelphia, Aug. 22-26

ly stages of life," says Hud, "molecules similar to proflavine may have acted as "molecular midwives," molecules that brought about the first self-replicating systems, but were no longer needed once life evolved proteins to replicate DNA." His work sheds light on the molecules and chemical reactions that may have been responsible for the origin of life on Earth some 4 billion years ago. Hud's presentation is part of a daylong symposium, "Astrobiology and the Origin of Life." (GEOC 25, Monday, Aug. 23, 3:20 p.m.)

Tuesday, Aug. 24

Chemistry at ultra-low temperatures -- Although it's freezing in outer space, chemistry happens all the time. Stars are born, gasses collide and reactions are set in motion. Here on Earth, physical chemists are tapping new techniques -- including nano-helium droplets and altered electric fields -- to study chemical reactions at the ultra-low temperatures, less than those found in space. What's more, by slowing classic chemical reactions to a frigid millionth of a degree Kelvin, scientists can study the reactions in more detail than ever possible at room temperatures. This three-day symposium features more than 30 presentations that showcase some of fascinating research going on in the area of physical chemistry. (PHYS 175-179, 210-215, 248-253, 290-295, 687-692, 716-721, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 8:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m.; Wednesday, Aug. 25, 8:20 a.m. 5:00 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 26, 8:00 a.m. 5:00 p.m., Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 102-A&B, during the symposium, "Chemistry at Ultra-low temperatures.")

Current energy crisis may signal bigger problems around the corner, scientist warns -- Geologist Kenneth S. Deffeyes, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Princeton University, predicts that world oil production will peak on Thanksgiving Day, 2005, and production rates will subsequently fall. As he argues in his book, "Hubbert's Peak: The Impending


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