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Russian biochemist who, in 1924, wrote a pamphlet on the origin of life (based on ideas presented at the Russian Botanical Society in 1922) and provided what Bernal called "the first and principal modern appreciation of the problem" (see life, origin of). His writings only reached the West, however, in the late 1930s.1
Although Oparin began by reviewing the various panspermia theories, he was primarily interested in how life initially began. He asserted: There is no fundamental difference between a living organism and lifeless matter. The complex combination of manifestations and properties so characteristic of life must have arisen in the process of the evolution of matter. But what was that process? Taking into account the recent discovery of methane in the atmospheres of Jupiter and the other giant planets, Oparin postulated that the infant Earth had possessed a strongly reducing atmosphere, containing methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water vapor. In his opinion, these were the raw materials for the evolution of life: At first there were the simple solutions of organic substances, the behavior of which was governed by the properties of their component atoms and the arrangement of those atoms in the molecular structure. But gradually, as the result of growth and increased complexity of the molecules, new properties have come into being and a new colloidal-chemical order was imposed on the more simple organic chemical relations. These newer properties were determined by the spatial arrangement and mutual relationship of the molecules.... In this process biological orderliness already comes into prominence. Competition, speed of growth, struggle for existence and, finally, natural selection determined such a form of material organization which is characteristic of living things of the present time.
Oparin outlined a way in which basic organic chemicals might form into microscopic localized systems - possible precursors of cells - from which primitive living things could develop. He cited the work done by de Jong on coacervates and other experimental studies, including his own, into organic chemicals which, in solution, may spontaneously form droplets and layers. Oparin suggested that different types of coacervates might have formed in the Earth's primordial ocean and, subsequently, been subject to a selection process leading eventually to life. See Haldane, J. B. S.; Oparin-Haldane Theory.
1. Oparin, A. I. The Origin of Life. New York: Dover (1952) (first published in 1938). 2. Oparin, A., and V. Fesenkov. Life in the Universe. New York: Twayne Publishers (1961).
Would it not be better to edit that link to primordial soup? --Scorpios 02:00, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
What does it mean to found the "Biochemistry Institute by the USSR Academy of Sciences."? I would have assumed that it meant he founded it as part of the Academy, but it states that he became a member of said academy afterward. How does this all work? The Last Melon 18:40, 11 June 2007 (UTC)
- Yes, founded as a part of the Academy. To work at the institute by the Academy is not necessary to be a member of the Academy, perhaps this is also true for founding the institute by the Academy. In case of Oparin, the institute was founded by him along with Aleksei Bakh (I'll add this into the article in a while) who was a Full Member of the Academy since 1929. Cmapm 23:32, 12 June 2007 (UTC)
- Ah, I see. Thanks.The Last Melon 01:57, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
'Aleksandr' is used in the page title and everywhere else except for the opening sentence, where 'Alexander' is used. Is this a mistake/mis-edit or is there a good reason for it? Davy p 19:28, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
- The problem is the complicated nature of WP:RUS. It basically three steps:
- Is the person has well-established name in English literature? (whatever it is it is not Aleksandr Oparin: it only gived 1900 ghits while Alexander gives 28000)
- Is it a common name in English as Alexander? (Yes!) - then the English form should be used
- If everything falls then transliteration should be used. It would yield Aleksandr.
- Since the step 2 and arguably step 1 already yields Alexander, the step 3 is irrelevant.
- I have moved the article accordingly Alex Bakharev 23:49, 23 September 2007 (UTC)
Can anyone reference his birthplace, please?
On google the only references that show, [+"Alexander Oparin" +Uglich], seem to be copies of wiki, and it's not immediately clear to me that 'Uglich', as in 'ugly', wasn't put there in order to be derogatory. Davy p 00:03, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
- The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (, the inline reference at the end of the paragraph) gives Uglich as his birthplace, there also 1680 hits on search Oparin+Uglich in Russian. I think we are quite safe here Alex Bakharev 00:39, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
- Thanks. It was because this had been vandalised that I removed it. Davy p 23:24, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Miller v. Oparin: Not sure how to do this, no hablo HTMx.
One thing: ... I learned about Aleksandr Oparin in high-school in Mexico (Segundo de Secundaria,CVH; gracias Profesora Rosa María Mendieta) in Biology class. This was post-Miller (1981~2). The thing that bothers me is the lightning. As described to me Oparin took the primordial soup, punched in some Frankensteinian high voltage Tesla Coil electrodes and zapped his supposition of Siderian atmosphere and bingo! Aminoacids!
Or was that Dr. Stanley Miller who put the experimentals together and proved Oparin right? I'm unclear. Does anyone have a direct origin on the zap'em idea? We're talking monumental minds here either way : ) And Oparin clearly devined it. Just want to get my stuff straight...
Yeah yeah, the modern version is Gamma Rays and a directed pulsar. Or cosmic rays screwing around with our atmosphere and the Van Allen mag-belt. Or, highly ironically vis a vis this article and Oparin's early studies of Panspermia, the Mars meteor! Or better yet, higher element packed cometary body accretion and bombardment from Sol being born in a nebular O-type stellar blast zone... Take your pick. I'm just really interested in the genesis of these ideas... Pun, I know. Not intended.
Manuel in México, D.F.
20th century Darwin?
Since I've only heard this claim from Creationists, at least I won't put it on the page unless citation is actually provided: Oparin sometimes is called "Darwin of the 20th century." —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zeenix (talk • contribs) 22:28, 12 June 2009 (UTC)