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Silicon-based Life Forms

  1. Apr 21, 2014 #1
    Hi, I saw this problem in my textbook.
    (Please see attached picture.)

    So, first of all, my answer to this question would be that since the activation energy is lower than the bond energies, it is very easy to provide enough energy for the process to occur. Most importantly, is my answer right?

    Now, for the fun part, does this mean there could be silicon based lifeforms?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    ... the question is
    "Why would a similar mechanism not be expected to play a part in the decomposition of long carbon chains...."
    You replied:
    Off what you are really interested in:

    It is unclear how much diversity is needed in the ability to form bonds with other elements for something other than carbon to end up as a basic building block for life ... but a carbon-poor environment would probably be needed for evolution to take that path.

    A discussion of what counts as life and how it may form from different kinds of chemistry
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1367593104001358
    ... behind a paywall though.

    At the other end of the scale:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothetical_types_of_biochemistry#Silicon_biochemistry
    ... points out some of the difficulties.

    The exercise you have just done shows you another difficulty.
     
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