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Portland State professor studying chemical networks as the possible genesis of life on Earth

Can lifeless chemicals cooperate with each other and form networks? And if they can, could this explain how life on Earth began 4 billion years ago?

Those are questions that Portland State University chemistry professor and NASA researcher Niles Lehman is seeking to answer. He recently received a $600,000 grant from the John Templeton Foundation as part of its mission to answer “Big Questions” in science -- the basic forces, concepts, and realities governing the universe and humankind's place in the universe.