Melvin Calvin - 1911- 1997
Melvin was born in St. Paul, Minnesota
in 1911. His parents both
immigrated to the United States. His
mother, Rose Hervitz Calvin, came from the area known as
South of Russia. She was
a seamstress, and made good money in her unique creations.
She designed and created distinctive clothing, household
decorations, and specially knitted items.
She continued her successful business even into her seventies.
Melvin’s father came from Kalvaria, which is now in Lithuania.
Melvin says that “According to my father, the name Calvin originated
with the immigration authorities and was based on his birthplace in
Melvin remembers his
neighborhood fondly. “It is strange to realize," he said,
"that now places like my neighborhood in St. Paul are part of a large
city and not the quiet, country-like streets that allowed us children to
roam about the city and its environs.”
Even as early as three, he had a deep desire to learn. When he had an uncle who was a university student visit his home, he would “study” too. His grandmother learned that for him that meant pacing up and down in his room. He would take apart all of his toys, and would work with them until he understood how they worked, then put them back together again. Little did anyone know that one day he would take apart all the pieces of photosynthesis to figure out how they worked.
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