The emergence of interstellar molecular complexity explained by interacting networks

The road to life is punctuated by transitions toward complexity, from astrochemistry to biomolecules and eventually to living organisms. Disentangling the origin of such transitions is a challenge where the application of complexity and network theory has not been fully exploited.

In this talk, I will present a computational framework in which simple networks simulate the most basic building bricks of life and interact to form complex structures, leading to an explosion of diversity when the parameter representing the environment reaches a critical value.

Notably, although our system does not attempt to model the rules of real chemistry, the results describe the emergence of complexity in the evolution of chemical diversity in the interstellar medium. Furthermore, they reveal an as yet unknown relationship between the abundances of the molecules in dark clouds and the potential number of chemical reactions that yield them as products, supporting the ability of the conceptual framework presented here to shed light on real scenarios. This interdisciplinary work reinforces the notion that some of the properties that condition the extremely complex journey from the chemistry in space to prebiotic chemistry and finally to life could show relatively simple and universal patterns.