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Melvin Calvin

Melvin Calvin

Melvin Calvin
BornApril 8, 1911
St. Paul, Minnesota, United States
DiedJanuary 8 1997 (aged 85)
Cambridge, England
ResidenceBerkeley, California, United States
InstitutionsUniversity of Manchester
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley Radiation Laboratory
Science Advisory Committee
Alma materMichigan College of Mining and Technology
University of Minnesota
Known forCalvin cycle
Notable prizes Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1961)
Priestley Medal
Davy Medal
Gold Medal

Melvin Ellis Calvin (April 8, 1911 - January 8, 1997) was a American chemist most famed for discovering the Calvin-Benson cycle along with Andrew Benson, for which he was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He spent virtually all of his five-decade career at the University of California, Berkeley.

Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the son of Jewish immigrants. His father was Lithuanian and his mother Georgian. Calvin earned his Bachelor of Science from the Michigan College of Mining and Technology (now known as Michigan Tech University) in 1931 and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1935. He then spent the next four years doing postdoctoral work at the University of Manchester. Ha married Genevieve Jemtegaard in 1942, and they had three children, two daughters and a son.

Calvin joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley in 1937 and was promoted to Professor of Chemistry in 1947. In 1963 he was given the additional title of Professor of Molecular Biology. He was founder and Director of the Laboratory of Chemical Biodynamics and simultaneously Associate Director of Berkeley Radiation Laboratory, where he conducted much of his research until his retirement in 1980.

Using the carbon-14 isotope as a tracer, Calvin and his team mapped the complete route that carbon travels through a plant during photosynthesis, starting from its absorption as atmospheric carbon dioxide to its conversion into carbohydrates and other organic compounds. In doing so, the Calvin group showed that sunlight acts on the chlorophyll in a plant to fuel the manufacturing of organic compounds, rather than on carbon dioxide as was previously believed. In his final years of active research, he studied the use of oil-producing plants as renewable sources of energy. He also spent many years testing the chemical evolution of life and wrote a book on the subject that was published in 1969.

Preceded by
Willard Libby
Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Succeeded by
Max Perutz and John Kendrew

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Melvin_Calvin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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