In the 1970s, biochemist Sidney Fox and colleagues believed they had uncovered primitive cell membrane-like structures called protenoid microspheres.
Louis Pasteur showed that what appeared to be life springing forth from nonliving matter was actually life emerging from exceedingly small living organisms.
In the 17th century, medical pioneer Sir William Harvey and Italian scientist Francesco Redi both proved the untenability of spontaneous generation.
The notion that the building blocks of life were easily gotten may have seemed intuitive to journalists and others acquainted with Mary Shelley’s novel.
Alexander Oparin’s 1924 prediction that origin-of-life research would be solved “very, very soon” hasn’t quite turned out right.