Origin of Life

Manfred Eigen

Last Event

10th June 2016, 16:15
Astrophysical Sources of Energy for Life



Manfred Eigen received his doctorate from the University of Göttingen in 1951, where he subsequently worked at the Institute of Physical Chemistry. After joining the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in 1953, he became director of its Chemical Kinetics Department in 1964. On the initiative of Manfred Eigen, this institute became part of today’s Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in 1971. Even after his retirement in 1995, he has been active as director of the Department of Biochemical Kinetics to the present day. In 1967, Manfred Eigen was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his research on ultra-fast chemical reactions in solutions. He is an ordinary member of Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

Selected papers


Eigen M (1994) On the origin of biological information. Biophysical Chemistry 50, 1.


Eigen M, Rigler R (1994) Sorting single molecules: Application to diagnostics and evolutionary biotechnology. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91, 5740-5747.


Eigen M, Lindemann B, Tietze M, Winkler-Oswatitsch R, Dress A, von Haeseler A (1989) How old is the genetic code? Statistical geometry of tRNA provides an answer. Science 244, 673-679.


Eigen M (1971) Selforganization of matter and evolution of biological macromolecules. Naturwissenschaften 58, 465-523.


Eigen M (1964) Proton transfer acid-base catalysis, and enzymatic hydrolysis. I. Elementary processes. Angewandte Chemie Int. Edit. 3, 1-19.

Selected books


Eigen M: From Strange Simplicity to Complex Familiarity. A Treatise on Matter, Information, Life and Thought. 768 pp., Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 2013.


Eigen M: Stufen zum Leben. Die frühe Evolution im Visier der Molekularbiologie. 311 pp., Piper-Verlag, München, 1987. [German].


Eigen M, Winkler R: Das Spiel. Naturgesetze steuern den Zufall. 404 pp., Piper-Verlag, München, 1975. [German].


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