(1911 - 1997)
Melvin Calvin was born on April 8, 1911, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Calvin first studied
at the Michigan College of Mining and Technology where he earned a Bachelor
of Science in 1931. He then attended the University of Minnesota and
received his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1935.
In 1937, Calvin moved to California,
where he studied and taught at the University of California at Berkley,
advancing to Professor of Chemistry in 1947. He was again promoted by
the university in 1963 to Professor of Molecular Biology. It was at
the University of California that he founded the Laboratory of Chemical
Biodynamics and assumed to the position of Director of Berkley Radiation
Laboratory. It was in the latter, that Calvin completed much of his
indepth research on chemical processes of photosynthesis.
It was his work in studying photosynthesis through the use of tracers
that earned Calvin great fame. Calvin utilized carbon-14 isotopes as
radioactive tracers to reveal the chemical processes of photosynthesis.
The Calvin Cycle illustrates how plants turn carbon dioxide and water
into sugar. In 1961, he was labeled “Mr. Photosynthesis”
by Time magazine. Calvin was awarded the Nobel
Prize for Chemistry in 1961 for his discovery along with Adam Benson,
of the Calvin cycle or the carbon movements through a plant.
He acted on many different committees and academies overseeing the
continuous research in science. Some of these committies include the
Science Advisory Committee under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Calvin
was also elected to the National Academy of Science.
In addition to receiving the Nobel Prize, Melvin Calvin was awarded
the National Medal of Science (1989) and the Davy Medal from the Royal
Society of London.
After many years of dedicated teaching and research, Calvin retired
in 1980. Melvin Calvin died on January 8, 1997, at the age of 86.
Wigoder, Geoffrey , Ed. The
New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia.
NY: Facts on File, 1992; "Melvin
Calvin Biography"; University
of California at Berkeley; “Melvin
Calvin, Who Unraveled the Secrets of