B.Sc. (First Class Hons): 1966; Ph.D.: 1970, University of Sydney, Australia.
Faculty member Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, 1973; Professor, 1986.
ARC Professorial Fellow, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 1992-1994.
Theoretical and Physical Organic Chemistry
Application of qualitative and quantitative molecular orbital and valence bond theories to problems of organic reactivity. The main goal: to develop new approaches to understanding organic reactivity. Emphasis is placed on the modeling of barrier formation by use of the Curve-Crossing Model. With an understanding of those factors that govern barrier heights, the model can be applied to a range of organic reactions to answer questions such as: why are some reactions fast while others are slow; why are some reactions concerted, while others proceed through an intermediate; what causes a mechanistic change to occur in a family of reactions? The relationship between the model and existing approaches to problems of organic reactivity (Marcus theory, potential energy surface models, etc.) are investigated.
Bridging between Chemistry and Biology. Seeking the Roots of Darwinian Theory in Chemistry.
Chemistry and biology are closely related sciences yet the chemistry-biology interface remains problematic. Our research program involves the development of a kinetic theory of replicating systems that will attempt to help bridge this gap. In earlier work we have demonstrated that there are two distinct kinds of stability in nature – thermodynamic stability associated with "regular" chemical systems, and dynamic kinetic stability (DKS), associated specifically with replicating systems. We propose building on those earlier ideas in order to help relate animate to inanimate, to uncover the physicochemical principles that were responsible for the emergence of life, and help uncover the chemical roots of Darwinian theory, specifically, the relation between emergence and evolution.
Pross, A. Theoretical and Physical Principles of Organic Reactivity, Wiley, New York, September, 1995.
Pross, A. What is Life? How Chemistry becomes Biology, Oxford UP, September 2012.
For review, see: http://www.pagepress.org/journals/index.php/eb/article/view/4637
Atheist Radio Interview on recent book: What is life? How Chemistry becomes Biology
Interview on the Chemistry-Biology interface appearing on SUNY ESF TV
Pross, A. The driving force for life’s emergence. Kinetic and thermodynamic considerations, J. theor. Biol. 220, 393-406 (2003). (PDF-1)
Coote, M.L., Pross, A., and Radom , L. On the Variable Trends in R–X Bond Dissociation Energies (R = Me, Et, iso-Pr, tert-Bu) Organic Letters, 24, 4689-4692 (2003).
Pross, A. and Khodorkovsky, V. Extending the concept of kinetic stability: Toward a paradigm for life, J. Phys. Org. Chem. 17, 312-316 (2004). (PDF-2)
Pross, A. Causation and the origin of life. Metabolism or replication first? Origins Life Evol. Bios. 34, 307-321 (2004). (PDF-3)
Pross, A. On the emergence of biological complexity: Life as a kinetic state of matter. Origins Life Evol. Bios. 35, 151-166 (2005). (PDF-4)
Pross, A. On the chemical nature and origin of teleonomy. Origins Life Evol. Bios. 35, 383-394 (2005). (PDF-5)
Coote, M.L., Pross, A., and Radom , L. Understanding alkyl substituent effects in R–O bond dissociation reactions in open- and closed-shell systems, Chapter in Fundamental World of Quantum Chemistry: A Tribute to the Memory of Per-Olov Lowdin, Vol. 3, Eds: E.J. Brandas and E.S. Kryachko, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 2004.
Pross, A. Stability in Chemistry and Biology. Life as a Kinetic State of Matter. Pure Appl. Chem. 77, 1905-1921 (2005). (PDF-6)
Pross, A. How Can a Chemical System act Purposefully? Bridging between Life and Non-life. J. Phys. Org. Chem. 21, 724-728 (2008). (PDF-7)
Pross, A. Seeking the chemical roots of Darwinism: Bridging between chemistry and biology, Chem. Eur. J. 15, 8374-8381 (2009). (PDF-8)
Wagner, N., Pross, A., Tannenbaum, E., Selection advantage of metabolic over non-metabolic replicators: A kinetic analysis, BioSystems 99, 126 - 129 (2010). (PDF-9).
Pross, A. Open Questions on the Origin of Life: Commentary on "Plausibility of RNA World" Origins Life Evol. Bios. 40, 434-437 (2010).
Pross A. Open Questions on the Origin of Life: Commentary on "Life as a Unity or Confederacy" Origins Life Evol. Bios. 40, 478-479 (2010).
Wagner, N., Pross, A. The Nature of Stability in Replicating Systems. Entropy 13, 518-527 (2011). (PDF-10)
Pross, A. Toward a general theory of evolution: Extending Darwinian theory to inanimate matter. J. Systems Chem. 2, 1 (2011). (PDF-11)
Pross A. How does biology emerge from chemistry? Origins Life Evol. Bios. 42, 433-444 (2012).
Pross A, Pascal R. The Origin of Life: what we know, what we can know and what we will never know. Open Biol. 3, 120190 (2013).
Pross A. The Evolutionary Origin of Biological Function and Complexity. J. Mol. Evol. 76, in press (2013).