Oparin and the Origin of Life: Cosmological Considerations

  • Richard S. Young


A. I. Oparin has considered the problem of the origin of life since the early 1920s. In 1924 he published a small booklet entitled, “Proiskhozhdenie Zhizni,” where he first put forth his views in which the origin of life appears as the gradual evolution of organic substances. In 1936 he published his second book, “Vozniknovenie Zhizni Na Zemle” (The Origin of Life on the Earth). The second book elaborated and expanded his views and attempted to collate data from astronomy, geology, and biochemistry with his views on the origin of life. The striking thing about Oparin’s early views on the origin of life problem was that indeed they were cosmological in scope. He considered the origin of life to be an integral part of the early evolution of a planet; in the 1920s and 1930s this was hardly a widely held view. His study of the literature available on the nature of the stars, planets, meteorites, and moons was very thorough in view of the amount of data available at that time. From these early papers he was able to draw some remarkably cogent conclusions which, even by comparison with the tremendous amount of data available today from telescopic and spacecraft observations, holds up remarkably well.


Igneous Rock Evolutionary Biochemistry Gradual Evolution Liquid Mass Life Problem 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard S. Young
    • 1
  1. 1.Planetary Biology, Planetary Programs Office of Space ScienceNational Aeronautics and Space AdministrationUSA

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