The experiment you are probably thinking of was performed in the labs at Cornell University in the 1950s by Stanley Miller and his advisor Harold Urey, in which they filled glass vessels with the gases which made up the atmosphere of the early Earth, and subjected them to an electrical spark to simulate the lightning which would have been common (and which is visible in the clouds of Jupiter), and the UV radiation from the sun. After several hours, a rich collection of complex proteins and nucleic acids formed. These are considered to be the building blocks of life, and it is generally considered that if the experiment were allowed to continue for several hundred, or several thousand years, these compounds might have given rise to actual life. Of course, in the early Earth, the experiment DID continue for thousands of years. This was commented on in the book "Cosmos", in the chapter "One Voice in the Cosmic Fugue", and is demonstrated on the video of that chapter.