Seeking Understanding: John Walton
If you have ever heard of “free radicals,” you know something about the work of Dr. John Walton, a professor of chemistry at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Dr. Walton’s work concentrates not only on the destructive reactions that come to mind when most people think of free radicals, but also on the positive effects of these fascinating chemicals. He also studies the potential of free radicals in industrial and environmental chemistry. What we know about free radicals because of the work of Dr. Walton and other chemists can also inform our understanding of how life came into being. Based on his life as a scientist and the research he has done, what does Dr. Walton believe to be the most reasonable explanation of life’s origin? This is the subject of this 22:30 episode of the Seeking Understanding series.
The Theory of Evolution
Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was based on natural selection as the engine of change in living beings. Later, with the advances in genetics, mutation was added to the theory as the source of the variations on which natural selection would act. The mutation-natural selection binomial thus became the main mechanism proposed for biological diversity. Do mutation and natural selection have the creative capacity assigned to them? Can they transform an organism into a different one by means of small changes accumulated over a long period of time? Are there other natural mechanisms that can do the job?