Origin of life

Virtual library on the origin of life

This is the cover of the first English edition (1938) of the pioneering work of the biochemist Aleksandr Ivanovich Oparin (1894-1981), published in Russian in 1936. Oparin elaborated, within the framework of the darwinism, the first succesful scientific approach to the problem of the origin of life, therefore surpassing the old spontaneous generation controversy. 

Virtual library on evolution



Oaxaca ISSOL'02



Charles Darwin



On the Origin of Species

London: John Murray

 p. 490

In brackets are the words added since the second edition on.


There is grandeur in this view of life with its several powers, having been originally breathed (by the Creator) into a few forms or into one; and that,whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.




Ernst Haeckel



Die Radiolarien

quoted by:

B÷lsche, W. (1909) Haekel. His Life

and Work

London: Watts & Co.

p. 57


The chief defect of Darwinian theory is that it throws no light on the origin of the primitive organism -probably a simple cell- from which all the others have descended. When Darwin assumes a special creative act for this first species, he is not consistent, and, I think, not quite sincere.






J.B.S. Haldane



"The origin of life".

The Rationalist Annual.

Reprinted in:

Bernal, J.D., 

The Origin of Life

The Weidenfeld and Nicolson Natural History R. Carrington, ed. London: Readers Union, 1967

p. 242-249

Just as we Know of sight only in connection with a particular kind of material system called the eye, so we know only of life in connection with certain arrangements of matter, of which the biochemist can give a good, but far from complete, account. The question at issue is: "How did the first such system on this planet originate?" This is a historical problem to which I have given a very tentative answer on the note unreasonable hypothesis that a thousand million years ago matter obeyed the same laws that it does today. 





Aleksandr. I Oparin


Proiskhodenie Zhini.

Mockba: Moscovksii Rabotchii.


English translation in: 

Bernal, J.D., 

The Origin of Life

The Weidenfeld and Nicolson Natural History R. Carrington, ed. London: Readers Union, 1967

 p. 199-234


What we do not know today we shall know tomorrow. A whole army of biologists in studying the structure and organization of living matter, while a no less number of physicists and chemists are daily revealing to us new properties of dead things. Like two parties of workers boring from the two opposite ends of a tunnel, they are working towards the same goal. The work has already gone a long way and very, very soon the last barriers between the living and the dead will crumble under the attack of patient and powerful scientific thought.



Academic Year



 "Chemical and Biochemical Evolution"Schedule