Oral history of British science

Perutz, Max (Part 17 of 19). National Life Stories Collection: General

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  • Subjects

    Molecular Biology

  • Recording date

    2001-06-30, 2001-08-18, 2001-09-15, 2001-10-06, 2001-10-27, 2001-11-29, 2001-12-08

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Cambridge, UK

  • Interviewees

    Perutz, Max, 1914-2001 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Thompson, Katherine, (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 17: MP explains his attachment of heavy atoms to haemoglobin and why he used mercury. More on Bragg and his generosity. MP explains procedure of being elected to Royal Society, in his case together with Sanger. It took another 6 years for the discovery of haemoglobin structure - in 1959. He describes details of his work and its problems and a chance event which helped him, and he emphasises the importance of thinking about a problem. More explanation on how he came to final discovery of structure in Sept.59. Before going skiing he sent prints of paper to Nature, with Kendrew. On his return from holiday he had 'become famous'! The importance of solving a protein structure - the model he made, getting the Nobel Prize in 1962. Crick, Watson and Wilkins also got Nobel Prize. MP talks about his disbelief until it was confirmed from Stockholm. He describes his joy, celebrations and parties. Mentions other Cambridge workers who later also got Nobel Prize.

  • Description

    Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist and author Max Perutz is interviewed about his life and work. Mentor to James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, Perutz died before this interview could be completed.

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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