Review

Endeavour

Vol.30 No.1 March 2006

The origins of research into the origins of life
Iris FryThe Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978,Israel

Most scientists at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century chose to ignore thequestion of the origin of life on Earth, regarding it as too mysterious and complex to handle. Yet, in the early 1950san experimental field devoted to the study of the problem made its first steps. The pioneering theories ofseveral scientists in the first decades of the 20th century played a major role in this transformation, notably thoseof the Russian biochemist Alexander I. Oparin and the British geneticist and biochemist J.B.S. Haldane. Theideas of the lesser-known American psycho-physiologist Leonard Troland also made a significant contribution tosubsequent developments in origin-of-life research. Therefore, it is well worth taking a look at the professional,philosophical and ideological commitments that shaped the approaches of the three scientists to origin-of-life [continua]

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