The science behind the comic
Something in the Water
Chapter 2 ▾
The ERC project Prometheus aims to explore the role of mineral self-assembly in the early Earth and its plausible role in primitive life detection and origin of life.
Within the project, as depicted in this second chapter of “Something in the Water”, researchers have to travel to remote places in search of silica-rich alkaline waters and other extreme geochemical environments.
Part of the activities of Professor Juan Manuel Ruiz and his team is to explain people of the regions they visit what we are looking for and why. When possible they also like to deliver popular lectures for high school students and teachers on fundamental aspect of crystallization and its application to everyday life.
In particular, here that you will find the pictures of the field trip that inspired our story.
Chapter 1 ▾
My ERC research project is called PROMETHEUS. This is the origin of it: More than four billion years ago life appeared on the Earth. Expanding and evolving until omnipresent, life has redefined the inorganic world, which today supports it as a skeleton supports the flesh. But there was a time when life was nowhere to be seen, and minerals were evolving and changing by themselves. PROMETHEUS is indeed an exploration of that primordial mineral barren world to explain its transition to an organic-rich planet ready to create life. It is an intellectual challenge because there are no rocky remnants from that time.
Till Lukat’s drawings and imagination accompany the Professor - my comics persona - on a research trip to find the remains of that lost, inorganic Planet Earth on a remote soda lake in Africa. A dream of discovery tantalises the exploration: once upon a time, four billion years ago, something in the water unveiled information on the biggest, yet least-known scientific mystery: the origin of life. But the story not only pushes us to think about our origins but also about our future.
Professor Juan Manuel García-Ruiz