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Alexander Oparin. Portrait of Alexander Ivanovich Oparin (1894-1980), Russian biochemist. Oparin graduated from Moscow University in 1917 and became professor of plant biochemistry there in 1929. He also helped to found the Bakh Institute of Biochemistry. As early as 1922 Oparin was speculating on the origins of life on Earth and later published The Origin of Life on Earth (1936) and The Chemical Origin of Life (1964). Oparin argued that the first organisms were heterotrophic and fed on organic compounds, rather than being autotrophic and feeding on inorganic substances. Oparin's work tranformed such theories from wild speculation to academically acceptable arguments.
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