Humans have always marvelled at the wonders of life. But for nearly a century science has had an explanation for the immense variety of life forms on the earth.  Out of a primordial soup a random combination of chemicals generated the building blocks of life.  Evolution did the rest.  But might this account be mistaken?  Despite decades of effort, biologists and biochemists have been unable to evolve living things from inorganic material.  The emergence of the first cell and the development of complex life remain a mystery.   

Is there something about the origin of life that means it will never be uncovered? Is the failure to account for life a threat to the whole evolutionary story? Or might we be able at some point to demonstrate the evolution of cells from inorganic material and the subsequent development of complex life forms?  And if so where might this solution be found? 

Artificial life researcher Kate Adamala, organic chemist Matthew Powner and evolutionary theorist Eörs Szathmáry discuss the challenging and intriguing question of life's origins. Güneş Taylor hosts.