The Cronin Group

Research in the Cronin Group is motivated by the fascination for complex chemical systems, and the desire to construct complex functional molecular architectures that are not based on biologically derived building blocks.


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New Equation Helps Estimate the Probability of Alien Life Elsewhere in the Universe

In a new paper in PNAS, Lee Cronin and Caleb Scharf put forward a new equation that could help predict the likelihood of life arising on other planets in the universe. Inspired by the Drake equation, which was put forward in the 60s to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in the galaxy, the equation developed by Cronin and Scharf incorporates factors such as the potential available chemical building blocks in a planet, and the number of building blocks required for a living system. By examining plausible values for these parameters, the likelihood of origin of life events on different planets could be estimated, giving astronomers additional guidance on where to direct their attention. One particularly interesting observation from this approach has been that the exchange of materials between planets within a solar system, as is known to have happened between Earth and Mars, could significantly accelerate the rate of origin of life events within the system through the exchange of complex materials. This insight could allow astronomers to focus on systems with multiple suitable planets as being of particular interest in the search for alien life.

Link to PNAS Paper

Link to Mail Online Article

Link to Gizmodo Article

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Prof. Leroy (Lee) Cronin

Prof Leroy (Lee) Cronin
Regius Chair of Chemistry
Advanced Research Centre (ARC)
Level 5, Digital Chemistry
University of Glasgow
11 Chapel Lane
Glasgow G11 6EW
Tel: +44 141 330 6650
Email: lee.cronin@glasgow.ac.uk

Latest Publications

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497. An integrated self-optimizing programmable chemical synthesis and reaction engine

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496. Autonomous execution of highly reactive chemical transformations in the Schlenkputer

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495. Universal chemical programming language for robotic synthesis repeatability

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494. Bringing digital synthesis to Mars

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493. An Autonomous Electrochemical Discovery Robot that Utilises Probabilistic Algorithms: Probing the Redox Behaviour of Inorganic Materials

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492. Reaction Kinetics using a Chemputable Framework for Data Collection and Analysis

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491. Assembly theory explains and quantifies selection and evolution

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490. Digital design and 3D printing of reactionware for on demand synthesis of high value probes

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489. Robotic Modules for the Programmable Chemputation of Molecules and Materials

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488. Science opportunities with solar sailing smallsats


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