The Urey-Miller Experiment
The chemistry lab is a place where answers are found and great discoveries have been made. With regard to the topic for this module, The Chemistry of Life (Ch. 15), in 1953 (the same year Watson, Crick, Franklin, and Wilkins proposed the structure of DNA! That`s right, I`m giving the other two credit as well, especially Rosalind Franklin, who did the most work and received none of the recognition!), at the University of Chicago, a very, very important scientific experiment was performed. The Urey-Miller Experiment, named after Harold Urey and Stanley Miller, who were the guys who performed it, proved that complex biochemical molecules (the ones necessary to form life) could evolve from simpler elements when conditions of early earth were simulated in the laboratory. It’s very much worth a quick search on the internet to get a brief background on this experiment. Take a look at what they did and what they produced, and be sure to try and find a picture of their set-up. Do you think this proves anything? What does it prove, exactly? How should the results of their experiment be interpreted? Where else, besides Earth, have organic molecules been found? Where else, besides Earth and the planet Mars, might we hope to find signs of life in our solar system?