Calvin’s Conception of Origins of Life
Melvin Calvin (1911–1997) was an American biochemist, who discovered, with Andrew Alm Benson (1917–), the cycle of reactions in the obscure phase of photosynthesis during the 1940s (Calvin-Benson cycle). Calvin obtained the Nobel Prize in 1961 for this discovery.
In 1951, Calvin published one of the first works in prebiotic chemistry. He reduced carbon dioxide in aqueous solution, by ionizing radiation, to formic acid.
In 1953, Harold Clayton Urey (1893–1981) rejected this result because of the presence of CO2. Urey was in favor of a reductive primitive atmosphere without CO2. However, Calvin maintained his interest for origins of life during the rest of his career and published his main book on this topic in 1969 (Molecular Evolution towards the Origin of Living Systems on Earth and Elsewhere).