The origin of life (OOL) question might be considered physical organic chemistry's ultimate challenge, yet despite continuing efforts over close to a century, the problem remains unresolved. In this personal perspective, I discuss some aspects of that challenge, and argue that notwithstanding the general perception that physical organic chemistry is a research area in decline, the discipline was, and continues to be, the most relevant one for tackling the OOL problem. Systems chemistry, a newly emergent branch of physical organic chemistry, which, inter alia, deals with replicating chemical systems and the networks they establish, reveals that physical organic chemistry, though in different guise, is alive and kicking. The broad direction ahead seems illuminated.
- history of science
- origin of life