Chemical Evolution

Chemical Evolution

Chemical Evolution

Chemical Evolution

Excerpt

The remarkable contributions of biology and the earth sciences in the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth were directed primarily toward an understanding of the nature of the world and the organisms inhabiting it. Darwin, as Dr. Calvin points out, had certainly reflected on the origin of life but confined his writing to the general theme of Natural Selection. Perhaps because of the great advancement in both the methodology and the substantive knowledge in geology, chemistry, physics, and biology and the new horizons toward which the intellectual eyes of contemporary students have been directed we have in recent years begun to ask questions about the origin of life on earth and to speculate on the possibilities that earthlings are not space's only inhabitants. What Robert Oppenheimer has called "daring experiments" are being devised to probe the problems of life's origin. The work of the laboratory is being complemented by studies of outer space, made possible by the development of the satellite program and the information that comes to us from afar, both in time and in space, by radio astronomy. It is not too much to hope, I believe, that studies now under way, which Dr. Calvin discusses, and those still to be conceived will distinguish the second half of the twentieth century by giving answers to questions on life's origin and its distribution in space, as the preceding hundred years contributed so preeminently to a related yet different area of knowledge.

L. S. CRESSMAN, Chairman Condon Lectures Committee . . .

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