Grandma Gets Sexy Idea for Origin of Life
Helen Hansma likes being a grandmother and studying the origin of life, according to a video on PhysOrg. To show she’s not over the hill, though, she came up with a sexy new hypothesis for how we got here: life emerged “between the sheets” – of mica.
Her video clip explains three parts to her hypothesis: (1) Mica sheets provide safe havens for molecules to evolve; (2) Mica has potassium, and life uses lots of potassium; and (3) Mica sheets can rise and fall as waves of water intrude the thin layers, providing a source of mechanical energy to keep things thrusting between the sheets.
The article, based on a press release from the NSF, presented her new ideas cheerfully. PhysOrg embellished the new hypothesis further with by claiming that “That age-old question, ‘where did life on Earth start?’ now has a new answer,” titillating readers with a flashy headline, “The Secret of Life May Be As Simple As What Happens Between the Sheets – Mica Sheets.”
You can try this at home. Put some watch parts in an accordion and pump till a watch comes out. If you want NSF funding, find a way to make your experiment sound sexy. (Warning: experimenting on the origin of life between your own sheets does not qualify. Maybe the Kinsey Institute will finance that.)