The Vester Ulbricht Process

Tilo L. V. Ulbricht and Frederic Vester from the Universities of Cambridge and Saarbr├╝cken were excited by reading reports of Lee and Yang, predicting the violation of parity in physics manifested by the weak nuclear force and its experimental proof by Wu.2 Vester obtained this information at a cocktail-party as he lively describes (Vester 1974). He and Ulbricht, whom he met the next day at Yale University, immediately thought that Lee and Yang's finding might be the ultimate key to understand the origins of biomolecular asymmetry, clarifying equally our understanding of the origin of life on Earth.

As commonly known, instable elements such as 40K with a half-life of 1.5 x 109 years and 14C with a half-life of 6000 years are present in Earth's crust. These elements may have served as radiation source for electrons that are - as we know -exclusively left spin-polarized. Ulbricht and Vester simply proposed already in 1962 to decelerate ultra-fast spin-polarized electrons obtained by the P-decay before studying an eventual enantioselective interaction of the decomposition products with organic matter (Ulbricht and Vester 1962); a suggestion that attracted tremendous interest and triggered an armada of research activities until today.

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