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Wim Hordijk

Independent researcher. Research area: the origin and evolution of life.

Wim Hordijk

My research

I am an independent and interdisciplinary scientist interested in the origin and evolution of life. After spending several formative years as a graduate fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, I worked on many research and computing projects all over the world. A wandering scientist by choice, I have collaborated with biologists, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and chemists.


IAS fellowship (Jan - Jun 2018)

“What was the role of self-sustaining autocatalytic reaction networks in the origin and early evolution of life?”

The origin of life represents the transition from chemistry to biology. However, to solve this problem, theoretical approaches (mathematics) and simulations (computer science) are also required to gain insight into the possibilities and probabilities of self-sustaining structures emerging, given the extremely large size of “chemical space”.

I will use theoretical approaches (graph theory and probability theory), combined with computer simulations (Gillespie algorithm, agent based modeling) to gain insight into the probability of self-sustaining autocatalytic reaction networks emerging from a basic food source, and their ability to diversify and evolve in a population of spatially distributed compartments. This work will be done in collaboration with experimental chemists to test and verify the models with real experiments, and to include more chemical realism into the models.