Chemistry Space-Time

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


As Einstein identified so clearly, space and time are intimately related. We discuss the relationship between time and Euclidean space using spectroscopic and radioastronomical studies of interstellar chemistry as an example. Given the finite speed of light, we are clearly studying chemical reactions occurring tens of thousands of years ago that may elucidate the primordial chemistry of this planet several billion years ago. We also explore space of a different kind — chemical space, with many more dimensions than the four we associate as space—time. Vast chemical spaces also need very efficient (computational) methods for their exploration to overcome this ‘curse of dimensionality’. We discuss methods by which the time to explore these new spaces can be very substantially reduced, opening the discovery useful new materials that are the key to our future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-14
Number of pages13
JournalPerspectives in Science
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Primordial chemistry
  • Radioastronomical spectroscopy
  • Amino acids
  • Materials space
  • Evolutionary algorithms
  • High throughput robotic synthesis

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