edited for The Academy of Sciences of U.S.S.R. by A. I. Oparin, A. G. Pasynasii, A. E. Braunstein and T. E. Pavlovskaya; English, French and German editions edited for International Union of Biochemistry by F. Clark and R. L. M. Synge. Volume I, 691 + xv pages, illustrated. New York, Pergamon Press, Inc., 1959. $15.00
Most scientists agree that life had a beginning at some period in the history of this planet. Beyond this area of assent, however, every question is controversial, whether it be the role of nucleic acids in the origin of life, or the causes of the craters of the moon. Still, this is progress from the time, following Pasteur's disproof of the spontaneous generation of microorganisms, when it seemed that one was forced to conclude that life had no origin but, like matter, had always existed. Since then, science has made the important discovery that life is a property of certain molecular combinations, and this knowledge has completely changed our view; for, since these molecular combinations are not eternal, life cannot have existed always. So far has the world come since Pasteur's day that, in August, 1957, a Symposium on the Origin of Life on the Earth was held in Moscow under the auspices of the International Union of Biochemistry.