Melvin Calvin

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Today photosynthesis is widely known across the globe, and with all of its reactions. It is often broken into two steps: the “light” reactions and the “dark” reactions. Both of these reactions are fundamental to the process of photosynthesis, and photosynthesis is vital for plants to survive. Because plants are the main energy source for organisms on Earth, and without them, we could not survive, photosynthesis is extremely important in the study of life, biology. Without Melvin Calvin, however, we might not know all the basics of what is sustaining life on Earth, which includes the “dark” reactions, and what even makes photosynthesis possible.

Melvin Calvin was an American biochemist who studied various fields of science. He made many important contributions to biology, and even more in the broad topic of science. Among his main interests were biology, chemistry, radiation chemistry, photochemistry, artificial photosynthesis, organic geochemistry, the origin of life, and uses of oils from plants for more energy sources. Of those many areas of research and experimentation, he made significant contributions of discovering the “dark” reactions/Calvin cycle, discovering the real source of energy for photosynthesis, separating immiscible solvents, helping with the biological safeties of the first landing on the moon, separating and decontaminating plutonium, and determining the structure for one of the Rh antigens. These contributions have all had a tremendous affect on science today, biology included.

Although Calvin made many accomplishments, as shown by the list above, he is most remembered for identifying most of the chemical reactions in the process of carbon dioxide being converted to carbohydrates. In order to understand the accomplishment of Melvin Calvin, photosynthesis must be understood at a basic level. Photosynthesis can be summarized into a few steps. First, sunlight or another form of light must reach the chlorophyll in the chloroplasts of a plant...
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