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an image of stardust
Tony Dearwester on Unsplash
"Midnight Stardust" off HWY 9 in Aspen Park Colorado at midnight.

Vital Dust: In memory of Christian de Duve

In 1995, Nobel Laureate Christian de Duve wrote the book "Vital Dust" where he described how all the elements necessary for the formation of life are created in stars. Some of the elements require giant supernova explosions to reach sufficient masses and temperatures for the formation process. That is to say, we have been through several generations of star formation after the big bang before that the star dust could form the basis for complicated organic molecules.

In Christian de Duve's book, the whole basis of life and the evolution of life from star-created elements and chemical processes are reviewed: they were necessary for the formation of the first life as well as for advanced organisms.

Jens Degett remembers his conversation (in Danish) with Christian de Duve in 2009 when he asked him if life is a consequence of the laws of nature in the Universe and whether he believes in the long-term survival of the present man. 

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Science Stories is supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.