- CALVIN, MELVIN
- CALVIN, MELVIN (1912–1997), U.S. biochemist and Nobel Prize winner. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, to parents who had emigrated from Russia, he received his B.S. in chemistry in 1931 from the Michigan College of Mining and Technology and his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1935. He spent 1935–37 as a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation at the University of Manchester in England, where he studied with michael polanyi . Calvin began his academic career at the University of California at Berkeley in 1937, becoming director of the bio-organic division of the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in 1946, professor of chemistry in 1947, and in 1960, director of the biodynamics laboratory. Calvin began his work on photosynthesis in the mid-1940s. He used carbon-14 isotope as a radioactive tracer to study photosynthesis – the process whereby living plants convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into sugars under the influence of sunlight and chlorophyll. For his elucidation of reactions in this vital process, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1961. His research also included work in radiation chemistry, the biochemistry of learning, processes leading to the origin of life, and using plant oils as a petroleum substitute. He worked with the Manhattan Project (for atomic fission) in 1944–45 and was on the U.S. delegation to the 1955 Geneva Conference on the peaceful uses of the President's Science Advisory Committee. He was the recipient of many awards and a member of numerous learned societies. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of London, and many others. His writings include Isotopic Carbon; Techniques in its Measurement and Chemical Manipulation (1949) and Path of Carbon in Photosynthesis (in collaboration with James Bassham, 1957). (Samuel Aaron Miller / Ruth Rossing (2nd ed.)
Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.