Calvin Wins the Nobel Prize for His Work on Photosynthesis (Great Events from History II: Science and Technology Series)
Article abstract: The 1961 Nobel Prize was awarded to Calvin for his studies of photosynthesis, which forms the basis for nutrition of all living things.
Summary of Event
Unraveling the mystery of how green plants transform energy from the sun and carbon dioxide into sugars and oxygen has been a subject of interest and speculation for a long time. It was not until Melvin Calvin published The Path of Carbon in Photosynthesis (1957) that the process was well understood. Calvin won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1961 for his work.
Calvin’s interest in the fate of carbon in photosynthesis, a fundamental biochemical reaction, began while studying in England as a postdoctoral fellow with Michael Polanyi at the University of Manchester from 1935 to 1937. During these years, Calvin’s work involved coordinated metal compounds, molecules that have organic components attached to metals. There are many coordinated metal compounds that are significant biologically, such as heme found in red blood cells and chlorophyll found in green plants. In 1937, Calvin left England and returned to the United States to teach at the University of California at Berkeley. From 1941 to 1945, Calvin’s work was directed at the war effort; this included two years on the Manhattan Project.
In 1946, Calvin was appointed director of the bioorganic division of the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley. His work...
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