Alexander Oparin

Alexander Oparin
Aleksandr Oparin 1938.jpg
Oparin in 1938
Born(1894-03-02)March 2, 1894[1]
DiedApril 21, 1980(1980-04-21) (aged 86)[1]
CitizenshipSoviet Union
Alma materMoscow State University
Known forContributions to the theory of the origin of life
AwardsHero of Socialist Labour (1969)
Lenin Prize (1974)
Kalinga Prize (1976)
Lomonosov Gold Medal (1979)
Scientific career
InstitutionsMoscow State University
USSR Academy of Sciences

Alexander Ivanovich Oparin (Александр Иванович Опарин; March 2 [O.S. February 18] 1894 – April 21, 1980) was a Soviet biochemist notable for his theories about the origin of life, and for his book The Origin of Life. He also studied the biochemistry of material processing by plants and enzyme reactions in plant cells. He showed that many food-production processes were based on biocatalysis and developed the foundations for industrial biochemistry in the USSR.[2]


Born in Uglich in 1894, Oparin graduated from the Moscow State University in 1917 and became a professor of biochemistry there in 1927. Many of his early papers were about plant enzymes and their role in metabolism.[3] In 1924 he put forward a hypothesis suggesting that life on Earth developed through a gradual chemical evolution of carbon-based molecules in the Earth's primordial soup. In 1935, along with academician Alexey Bakh, he founded the Biochemistry Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences.[2] In 1939, Oparin became a Corresponding Member of the Academy, and, in 1946, a full member. In 1940s and 1950s he supported the theories of Trofim Lysenko and Olga Lepeshinskaya, who made claims about "the origin of cells from noncellular matter". "Taking the party line" helped advance his career.[4] In 1970, he was elected President of the International Society for the Study of the Origins of Life. He died in Moscow on April 21, 1980, and was interred in Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow.

Oparin became Hero of Socialist Labour in 1969, received the Lenin Prize in 1974 and was awarded the Lomonosov Gold Medal in 1979 "for outstanding achievements in biochemistry". He was also a five-time recipient of the Order of Lenin.

Aleksander Oparin (right) and Andrei Kursanov in the enzymology laboratory, 1938
Other Languages
Esperanto: Aleksandr Oparin
Bahasa Indonesia: Alexander Oparin
íslenska: Alexander Oparin
македонски: Александар Опарин
Nederlands: Aleksandr Oparin
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Aleksandr Oparin
português: Aleksandr Oparin
Simple English: Alexander Oparin
српски / srpski: Александар Опарин
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Aleksandar Oparin