Moorad Alexanian (
Wed, 12 May 1999 19:51:29 -0400

Dear Kevin,

I have often read your quote by E. H. Hiebert and was curious to its
meaning. Thermodynamics is a subject devoid of dynamics, therein lies its
strength. It can be treated like plane Euclidean geometry in that there are
a few postulates and then one can derive all sorts of theorems from the
postulates. However, nothing can be calculated within thermodynamics
without introducing the dynamics via statistical mechanics.

Take care,


-----Original Message-----
From: Brian D Harper <>
To: <>
Date: Wednesday, May 12, 1999 7:08 PM
Subject: Life in the Lab

>I'm afraid I'm somewhat behind on this thread and haven't
>had time yet to read through Kevin's most recent posts.
>I was digging around in some of our on-line data bases
>and managed to find another reference which I thought
>I'd pass along. Apologies if Kevin already mentioned this
>one :).
> "Experimental retracement of the origins of a protocell: It was
> also a protoneuron," Journal of Biological Physics. 20 (1-4) 1-4 . 17-36.
> Fox, Sidney W.; Bahn, Peter R.; Dose, Klaus; Harada, Kaoru;
> Hsu, Laura; Ishima, Yoshio; Jungck, John; Kendrick, Jean;
> Krampitz, Gottfried; Lacey., James C., Jr.; Matsuno, Koichiro;
> Melius, Paul; Middlebrook, Mavis; Nakashima, Tadayoshi;
> Pappelis, Aristotel; Pol, Alexander; Rohlfing, Duane L.;
> Vegotsky, Allen; Waehneldt, Thomas V.; Wax, H.; Yu, Bi
> Although Oparin used coacervate droplets from two or more
> types of polymer to model the first cell, he hypothesized
> homacervation from protein, consistent with Pasteur and
> Darwin. Herrera made two amino acids and numerous cell-like
> structures ("sulfobes") in the laboratory, which probably arose
> from intermediate polymers. Our experiments have conformed
> with a homoacervation of thermal proteinoid, in which amino
> acid sequences are determined by the reacting amino acids
> themselves. All proteinoids that have been tested assemble
> themselves alone in water to protocells. The protocells have
> characteristics of life defined by Webster's Dictionary:
> metabolism, growth, reproduction and response to stimuli in
> the environment. The protocells are able also to evolve to
> more modem cells including the initiation of a nucleic acid
> coding system. Principal spinoffs from the results are revised
> evolutionary theory, models for protoneurons and networks
> thereof, and numerous industrial applications of thermal
> polyamino acids. Life itself has thus been reaffirmed to be
> rooted in protein, not in DNA nor RNA, which are however
> crucial to inheritance in modern life as "instruction manuals'
> (Komberg). Recognition of the advances have been
> considerably delayed by the deeply held assumption that life
> began by chance from random polymerization of amino acids,
> in contrast to the experimental findings. The concepts of
> DNA/RNA-first and protein-first are reconciled by a
> rise-and-fall progression as often seen in biochemical and
> biological evolution. The fact that amino acids order
> themselves explains in turn that thermal copolyamino acids are
> finding numerous applications. The entire sequence of
> processes in the proteinoid origins theory is now seen to be
> highly deterministic, in close accord with Einstein.
>One interesting thing about this paper is the number of
>authors, some very well known. The names that jumped out
>at me were Klaus Dose and Koichiro Matsuno. Perhaps others
>may be familiar with some of the other names. So, we have
>these two prominent researchers willing to sign their
>names to a paper claiming that protocells are alive. While
>not establishing a consensus, it at least establishes the
>view as legitimate minority opinion.
>Seeing Koichiro's name reminded me that I had a brief e-mail
>discussion with him several years ago about Hubert Yockey.
>So, I decided to send him an e-mail to see if he would
>express his views on the subject. I'll let the group know
>if he replies.
>Many thanks to Kevin for the effort he has expended in
>defending his claim. Maybe I'll be able to say more once
>I've looked at his posts.
>Brian Harper
>Associate Professor
>Applied Mechanics
>The Ohio State University
>"All kinds of private metaphysics and theology have
>grown like weeds in the garden of thermodynamics"
>-- E. H. Hiebert