Dear ISSOL Members–
This is a very dynamic and exciting time in our field. The quest to understand the origins of life has been invigorated with new discoveries in chemistry, astronomy, geology, physics, planetary science, biology, and several other disciplines. Unforeseen synthetic routes to the chemical building blocks of life have come to light in the last few years. Innovative theoretical advances on what phenomena are required to transit from a non-living to a living state have been proposed. A vastly better understanding of the physical environment of the Earth and its environs some 4.5 billion years ago has emerged. Hundreds, if not thousands of new exoplanets are being discovered every day.
I am thrilled to be alive during this period, and honored to be part of this interdisciplinary –– and international –– community of scientists that is closing in on providing answers to one of the most important questions humankind has ever asked … how did life originate?
As we saw during the XVIII ISSOL Conference that was held this past June on the campus of the University of California, San Diego, the community that is engaged in this pursuit is made up of a mixture of young and old researchers coming from all over the globe. This is another exciting and important aspect of the ISSOL community: that it is continuing to expand and attract an ever-expanding set of scientists. During the next three years as we lead up to and past the next meeting in 2020, I would encourage a greater diversity of people to join and participate in ISSOL. I hope that our organization, which began in the late 1950’s with a relatively isolated set of workers, welcomes the newer generation of young students, welcomes people from an expanding list of countries, welcomes a more representative balance of gender, welcomes a broader diversity of sub-disciplines, and evolves into an inclusive collection of individuals who all share the same enthusiasm for looking at an old problem from new perspectives.
Take a few minutes to join ISSOL if you haven’t already, to nominate researchers for recognition, to consider where to publish your work, and to discuss origins at other regional meetings. You might even want to add a custom-designed ISSOL T-shirt to your wardrobe.
Please stay tuned to the ISSOL website and the Twitter account (@ISSOL_society) for news and updates. I want to express my deep appreciation for all of those ISSOLians who made the 2017 meeting happen and be so successful. We should announce the 2020 meeting location in early 2018. I look forward to seeing you there!
November 1, 2017