Oral history of British science

Klug, Aaron (Part 19 of 31). National Life Stories Collection: General

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  • Subjects

    Biophysics; Chemistry

  • Recording date

    2002-10-29, 2002-11-03, 2002-11-20, 2002-11-27

  • Recording locations

    MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge

  • Interviewees

    Klug, Aaron, 1926-, (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Thompson, Katherine (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    AK stopped work on viruses' early 70s and gives reason why. Mentions Crick's saying "Cambridge skims off cream of problems!" AK got interested in chromosomes and explains route which took him to chromatin work. Roger Kornberg from USA started as his post-graduate student who started to tackle problem of interaction of histones with DNA - explains problems in detail. Kornberg found method to isolate histones and aggregation into tetramers. Detailed explanation of the structure they found. Organism used: calf thymus cells. Explanation of methods and structure found and its importance. Huxley and AK were at that time in charge of division of 'molecular assemblies'. They had financial support but lab. Has no individual budget. In 1978 Huxley and AK were heads of 'structural studies division' which included protein crystallography. When Laboratory was in debt they made their own materials they needed. Restriction to work was lack of space and people employed - good discipline in lab. AK explains his attitude to solving problems, later gave up chromatin work and went on to Zn fingers. AK had other USA post-doc student. Work on nucleosomes and AK's more personal involvement in this work, they crystallised them and deduced the structure using electron microscopy and x-ray crystallography.

  • Description

    Nobel Prize-winning chemist Aaron Klug in conversation about his life and work. Klug is most famous for his research into crystallographic electron microscopy.

  • Related links

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

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