2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Computational Studies on the Formation and Reaction of Amino Acid Precursors in the Interstellar Medium
Alexis Morris* and Amare M. Assefa
Dr. Eric V. Patterson, Faculty Mentor

The synthesis of the chemical building blocks of life, such as amino acids, are of interest when looking at the origin of life. The discovery of over 200 organic species ranging from formic acid to anthracene suggests that more complex organic molecules may be formed extraterrestrially. The recent discovery in the ISM of amino acetonitrile (NH2-CH2-CN), a precursor to glycine, provides further evidence that precursors of amino acids are likely to exist in the ISM. While the existence of these precursors seems likely, the mechanisms by which they form and react remain unknown. We have used computational chemical methods to model likely mechanisms for both formation of precursors and the reaction of these precursors to form more complex biological molecules. Data from a few of these reaction pathways will be presented.

Keywords: Amino Acid, Computational, Interstellar Medium, Glycine, Amino Acetonitrile


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 206-3
Location: MG 2090
Time: 10:00

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