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Manfred Eigen (born May 9, 1927) is a German biophysicist from Bochum. A former director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, he is an honorary doctor of the Technical University of Braunschweig. From 1982 to 1993, Eigen was president of the German National Merit Foundation.

In 1967, Eigen was awarded, along with Ronald George Wreyford Norrish and George Porter, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. They were distinguished for their studies of extremely fast chemical reactions induced in response to very short pulses of energy.

In addition, Eigen's name is linked with the theory of the chemical hypercycle, the cyclic linkage of reaction cycles as an explanation for the self organization of prebiotic systems, which he described with Peter Schuster in 1979. Eigen is a member of the Board of Sponsors of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

See also

* Quasispecies model


* Manfred Eigen and Peter Schuster The Hypercycle: A principle of natural self-organization, 1979, Springer ISBN 0-387-09293-5

* Manfred Eigen, Ruthild Winkler: The Laws of the Game: How The Principles of Nature Govern Chance, 1993, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-02566-5

* Manfred Eigen, "Molekulare Selbstorganisation und Evolution." (Self organization of matter and the evolution of biological macro molecules.) Naturwissenschaften 58 (10). 1971 pp. 465-523. In English. Influential theoretical paper on origin-of-life biochemistry.

What is life? - Manfred Eigen


  • Winkler-Oswatitsch, R (1987), "Manfred Eigen. Scientist and musician.", Biophys. Chem. 26 (2-3): 109-15, 1987 May 9, PMID:3300805, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3300805> 
  • "List of publications by Manfred Eigen.", Biophys. Chem. 26 (2-3): 103-8, 1987, 1987 May 9, PMID:3300804, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3300804> 
  • "Curriculum vitae of Manfred Eigen.", Biophys. Chem. 26 (2-3): 102, 1987, 1987 May 9, PMID:3300803, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3300803> 
  • "Manfred Eigen Festschrift: special issue dedicated to Professor Manfred Eigen on the occasion of his 60th birthday.", Biophys. Chem. 26 (2-3): 101-390, 1987, 1987 May 9, PMID:3300802, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3300802> 
  • Weisskopf, V F; Eyring, H & Eyring, E M (1967), "Nobel Prizes: 4 named for international award (Hans Bethe, Manfred Eigen, R.G. Norrish, George Porter).", Science 158 (802): 745-8, 1967 Nov 10, PMID:4860395, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4860395> 
  • Schlögl, R W (1997), "To Manfred Eigen on his 70th birthday.", Biophys. Chem. 66 (2-3): 71-3, 1997 Jun 30, PMID:17029872, <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17029872> 

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