Sunday, May 15, 2011

Published This Day: The Recipe For Primordial Soup

In 1953, Stanley L. Miller's paper on the synthesis of amino acids under conditions that simulated primitive Earth's atmosphere was published in Science.

Miller is an American chemist who made a series of famous experiments beginning in 1953, to determine the possible origin of life from inorganic chemicals on the primeval earth.

He passed electrical discharges (simulating thunderstorms) through mixtures of reducing gases, such as hydrogen, ammonia, methane and water, that were believed to have formed the earliest atmosphere.

An analysis days later showed that the resulting chemicals included glycine and alanine, the simplest amino acids & the basic building blocks of proteins. Other compounds included urea, aldehydes and carboxylic acids. Thus, a "primeval soup" is the currently accepted most plausible explanation, though incomplete, of the origin of the complex organic molecules of life. From Today in Science History.