Silicon Based Life forms????

Alexander Berezin berezin at MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA
Mon Apr 7 21:23:48 EST 1997

On Mon, 7 Apr 1997, Rob wrote:

>  What if life forms were silicon based rather than carbon bases? Silicon
> is much more abundant on earth than carbon its atoms can bond to 4 other
> atoms.  Bonds between silicon are unstable in the presence of 02 but
> bonds between silicon and oxygen are extremely stable and difficult to
> break. I was wondering what implications would these properties have for
> these life forms.
>                             Please reply by April 7, but if you cant its
> no problem.
>                              Thanks, Justin

Problem is that silicon contrary to carbon does not form
linear chains and structures like double helix won't work
as easily on Si as on Carbon. However, there is a significant 
literature (mostly speculative) of alternative lifeforms, 
to begin with D.Goldsmith and T.Owen, The Search for Life 
in the Universe, Menlo Park, 1980.  Undoubtedly, you
can find more recent literature. Good luck with your 
Alexander A. Berezin, PhD
Department of Engineering Physics
McMaster University, Hamilton,
Ontario, Canada, L8S 4L7
tel. (905) 525-9140 ext. 24546

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