Horowitz, Norman H. (1915–2005)
Norman Horowitz was an American geneticist at the California Institute of Technology who, in the
mid 1940s, used the Oparin-Haldane Theory as the basis for his own theory of biochemical synthesis. In doing so, he
helped bring to greater prominence the idea of the chemical evolution of
life. However, he was not optimistic about the prospects of finding extraterrestrial
life, citing the absence of a theory to explain the origin of nucleic
acids and proteins. Later, he was the
principal investigator on the Viking pyrolytic
release experiment. Believing, after the mission, that Viking had ruled
out the possibility of martian life he drew the sweeping conclusion that:
"Since Mars offered by far the most promising habitat for extraterrestrial
life in the solar system, it is now virtually certain that the earth is
the only life-bearing planet in our region of the galaxy."1, 2
- Horowitz, N. H., et al. "Planetary Contamination I: The Problem and
the Agreements," Science, 155, 1501 (1967).
- Horowitz, N. H., et al. "Microbiology of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica," Science, 176, 242 (1972).