Watch what you call me

Linus Pauling in a letter to Edward Grubert, Biology Dept., Temple U., "you refer to me as a biochemist, which is hardly correct. I can properly be called a chemist, or a physical chemist, or a physicist, or an X-ray crystallographer, or a mineralogist, or a molecular biologist, but not, I think, a biochemist.

A woman's work

"In Manne Siegbahn's institute, she (Lise Meitner) was given a room but no students, no assistants, no equipment, not even the keys to the building; she was neither invited to join Siegbahn's group nor given the resources to form her own."

from a letter in Physics Today by Elizabeth Crawford, Ruth Lewin Sime, Mark Walker

The shape of things

The vast majority of what we know about shapes and metric detail of molecules and extended materials derives from the studies of the diffraction of X-rays by single crystals of molecules, a technique popularly called "X-ray crystallography".

Roald Hoffmann
American Scientist, Jan-Feb. 1998

Life and art

An exhibition called "Molecules are Life and Art", developed by Cristina De Matteis, lecturer in pharmaceutical chemistry at the U. of Nottingham, England, links the beauty of molecules with their importance in everyday life. The collection of pictures designed by De Matteis merges photographs of commonplace materials with computer graphics images of the molecules that give the materials characteristic properties such as taste, smell, color or texture.

Donald Caspar, TMV, and protein-protein interactions

The Inst. of Molecular Biophysics at Florida State U. sponsored a two-day symposium entitled "Quasi-equivalence: Motion and Adaptability in Living Molecules" in celebration of Donald Caspar's 70th birthday. Don was first intrigued by X-ray diffraction studies of Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) in 1938. That summer Isadore Frankuchen visited the Caspars bringing with him the first ever X-ray diffraction photograph of a virus that he had taken earlier that year at Birkbeck. Namba and Stubbs published the 3.6Å resolution structure of TMV in 1986 and the refined structure at 2.9Å resolution in 1989.

Lee Makowski (Florida State U.)
Guest Editor, Protein Structure Function and Genetics

Releasing coordinates

The journals Nature and Science announced in Feb. 1998 that they are collaborating to investigate whether the practice of deferred release of crystallographic coordinates should be stopped.