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Robert and Linell Shapiro attend Los Angeles premiere of 'Mark Felt'
Robert Shapiro and his wife Linell attend the Los Angeles premiere of 'Mark Felt' at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills, California on September 26, 2017. Photo by Christine Chew/UPI
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Robert Shapiro is professor emeritus of chemistry at New York University. He is best known for his work on the origin of life, having written two books on the topic: Origins, a Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth (1986) and Planetary Dreams (2001). He opposes the RNA world hypothesis, holding that the spontaneous emergence of a molecule as complicated as RNA is highly unlikely. Instead, he proposes that life arose from some self-sustaining and compartmentalized reaction of simple molecules: "metabolism first" instead of "RNA first". This reaction would have to be able to reproduce and evolve, eventually leading to RNA. He claims that in this view life is a normal consequence of the laws of nature and potentially quite common in the universe.

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It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Robert Shapiro."