In 1922, Oparin, during a meeting of the Russian Botanical Society, introduced his concept of a primordial organism arising in a brew of already formed organic compounds.
In 1924, Oparin, in his The Origin of Life, argued that compounds of nitrogen, carbon, hydrocarbons, and other oxygen-containing organic molecules fell from the cooling clouds, filling the oceans, and from these a complex aggregate called colloids formed, and eventually transformed into an organic body.
In 1936, Oparin, argued, based on the 1931 ‘coazervate’ theory of H. Budenberg de Jong, that inorganic molecules, in an oxygenless atmosphere, could react via the action of sunlight, to produce a ‘primeval soup’ of organic molecules; which in turn could combine to create a ‘coacervate droplet’ (compare: cell-as-molecule), such as shown below, adjacent, which, in turn, would grow by fusion with other droplets, and reproduce through fission into daughter droplets, gaining a primitive metabolism in which those factors that promoted cell integrity survived, whereas those that didn’t became extinct.
- “The [origin of life] problem is really quite insoluble since it is formulated upon a tacit assumption that the emergence of living from non-living could only have followed a hierarchical order, thus:
- But life could have originated not as the end link of a chain of consecutive events but by simultaneous coordination of several factors:
- As long as the cell is considered as the unit of life, the origin of life must remain a paradox. But like the erstwhile atom in chemistry, the cell has lost its prestige as the ultimate unit in biology. The cell, like the ‘indivisible’ atom, is not recognized as highly organized and integrated system built up form extremely small and distinct particles.”
The “L → C → E → L” loop is what is called “chemical perpetual motion" theory, specifically the idea that reactant can feed back into the products to create an “auto-powered” or “self-powered” chemical reaction that goes perpetually on its own, thereby giving the perception of having found the so-called “spark day” of the origin of life. Secondly, the the discussion of how the cell breaks down into smaller components, we are reminded of the cell-as-molecule view of things.
In 1917, Oparin completed a degree in plant physiology at Moscow State University and became a biochemistry professor there in 1927, focusing on plant enzymes and metabolism.
Quotes | On
The following are quotes on Oparin:
- “Oparin’s great contribution to the theory of the origin of life is that he postulated a long chemical evolution as a necessary preamble to the emergence of life, thinking of the evolutionary process as passing through three distinct chemical phases, from: inorganic chemistry, to organic chemistry, to biological chemistry.”
- — Sergius Morgulis (1952). “Introduction” (pg. #), in: The Origin of Life
- “While rejecting vitalism, teleology, and mysticism, Haeckel taught a view of nature that advocated a cosmic perspective and an evolutionary framework, and thereby surpassed the crudely mechanistic and materialistic [see: crude materialism] explanations of the world. Going beyond Darwin, Haeckel proposed that life had emerged spontaneously from matter; an hypothesis anticipated by over fifty years: the abiogenetic theory of Alexander Oparin.”
- — James Birx (1992), “Introduction to The Riddle of the Universe” 
Quotes | By
The following are quotes by Oparin:
- “Neither the theory of spontaneous generation nor the theory of the continuity of life solves rationally the problem of the origin of life, since these theories are based on the tacit assumption of an absolutely impassable hiatus between animate and inanimate nature.”
- — Alexander Oparin (1936), The Origin of Life (pg. 45)
- Oparin, Alexander. (1924). The Origin of Life (Introduction and translation: Serguis Morgulis ) (Introduction, pgs. v-xxii; diagrams, pgs. xv-xvi). Dover, 1965.
- (a) Oparin, Alexander I. (1953). Origin of Life (pg. 152). Dover.
(b) Jong, de Budenberg. (1932). “Protoplasm”, 15, 110; (1931). 235, 174; (1932). 248, 131, 335.
(c) Budenberg de Jong, H. (1936). "The Coacervation." Hermann, Paris.
- Birx, H. James. (1992). “Introduction”, in: The Riddle of the Universe (by: Ernst Haeckel, translator: Joseph McCabe) (pgs. ix-xiv). Prometheus Books, 1992.
- Alexander Oparin – Hmolpedia 2020.