Aleksandr Ivanovich Oparin (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Oparin was the principal pioneer in theorizing on the origins of life on Earth from inorganic matter. Of major importance also were his works which dealt with the biochemistry of plant material, from which he successfully developed the principles of Soviet biochemistry based on biocatalysis.
Born on March 2, 1894, in the small village of Uglich, near Moscow, Aleksandr Ivanovich Oparin was the youngest of three children in a typical Russian family. Because the area lacked a secondary school, Oparin’s family moved to Moscow when he was nine, making it possible for him to continue his education. Details of his younger years are scant until he reached college age. Attaining a complete secondary education, in which he distinguished himself by his abilities in science, Oparin decided to attend Moscow State University. There he became interested in plant physiology, studying in the natural sciences department of the physico-mathematical faculty. While at the school, he became associated with and greatly influenced by K. A. Timiryazev, who had known Charles Darwin and was a determined exponent of his theory of evolution. Oparin himself was drawn to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, a viewpoint that would dominate his later career and be a special feature of his theory of the beginnings of life.
Impressed with the ideas inherent in contemporary...
(The entire section is 1987 words.)
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