In the autumn of 1952, a 22-year-old chemist named Stanley Miller made a rather outrageous proposition to his supervisor, Nobel laureate Harold Urey. Miller challenged that in their lab at the University of Chicago he would attempt to recreate the chemical soup of primordial earth, and then watch to see what transpired.
Her persistence and strong desire to pursue an undergraduate research project (by replicating the 1953 experiments of Stanley Miller and Harold Urey on the "pre-life" evolution of the molecular building blocks of complex biological molecules that are required for life to exist, Miller 1953; Miller & Urey 1959) were all she needed to nudge her professors into a long-lasting, cross-disciplinary collaboration focused on integrating student-initiated research projects into the undergraduate science curriculum.
Researchers have developed more than 30 different models for how these features of the climate might have changed in the past, in the course of a debate, which has endured for more than 60 years since pioneering work by Nobel Laureate Harold Urey in 1946.
Sure, there's still much controversy about some of their explanations, but there has also been a lot of progress since the experiments by Stanley Miller and Harold Urey in the 1950s in which they attempted to recreate the chemical environment of the early earth.