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Lee Cronin  

With his research group, Lee Cronin is investigating the emergence of complex self-organising chemical systems -- call it inorganic biology.

Chemist Lee Cronin asks, "What is the minimum unit of life?" At the moment, it's bacteria, the minimal chemical unit that can undergo evolution. But in Cronin's emerging field, he's thinking about forms of life that won't be biological. To explore this, and to try to understand how life itself originated from chemicals, Cronin and others are attempting to create truly artificial life from completely non-biological chemistries that mimic the behavior of natural cells. They call these chemical cells, or Chells.

Cronin's research interests also encompass self-assembly and self-growing structures -- the better to assemble life at nanoscale. At the University of Glasgow, this work on crystal structures is producing a raft of papers from his research group.

He says: "Basically one of my longstanding research goals is to understand how life emerged on planet Earth and re-create the process."

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