Molecular Spectra, Reaction Dynamics, Symmetries and Life


  • Martin Quack



Chirality, Cpt theorem, Fundamental symmetries, High-resolution infrared spectroscopy, Molecular reaction kinetics, Origin of life, Parity violation, Quantum dynamics


We provide a short review of the work of the group for molecular kinetics and spectroscopy at the Laboratory for Physical Chemistry of ETH Zürich contributing to our understanding of the fundamental physical-chemical primary processes in chemical reactions. After a brief historical introduction, we present a selection of recent progress and thinking in three areas:1. Experiments in high resolution molecular spectroscopy leading us from an elucidation and unraveling of molecular infrared spectra to the understanding of the molecular reaction dynamics and fast intramolecular processes from the nanosecond (1 ns = 10?9 s) to the femtosecond (1 fs = 10?15 s) and even sub-fs or attosecond (1 as = 10?18 s) domain.2. Theory of fundamental symmetries of physics and their violations in molecular spectra and dynamics of chiral molecules with a discussion of possible consequences for the role of chirality in the origin of life.3. Speculative considerations on the relationship of spectra and dynamics of chiral molecules with the CPT theorem of physics and with the origin of matter and chiral life, and on the relationship of time reversal symmetry violation with the molecular origin of irreversibility and with the possible molecular origin of thought.




How to Cite

M. Quack, Chimia 2003, 57, 147, DOI: 10.2533/000942903777679389.