This image represents a complex apparatus such as might have been used in the Miller Urey experiment.
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The Miller Urey Experiment
In the 1950's, biochemists Stanley Miller and
Harold Urey, conducted an experiment which demonstrated that several
organic compounds could be formed spontaneously by
simulating the conditions of Earth's early atmosphere
They designed an
apparatus which held a mix of gases similar to those found in Earth's
early atmosphere over a pool of water, representing Earth's early ocean.
Electrodes delivered an electric current, simulating lightning, into the
gas-filled chamber. After allowing the experiment to run for one week,
they analyzed the contents of the liquid pool. They found that several
organic amino acids had formed spontaneously from inorganic raw materials.
These molecules collected together in the pool of water to form coacervates.
Their experiments, along with considerable geological, biological, and
chemical evidence, lends support to the theory that the first life forms
arose spontaneously through naturally occuring chemical reactions.
However, there are still many skeptics of this theory who remain unconvinced.
British astrophysicist, Fred Hoyle, compares the likelihood of life
appearing on Earth by chemical reactions "as equivalent to the
possibility that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a
Boeing 747 from the materials therein".
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