Max Perutz and the SPSL

Georgina Ferry

in In Defence of Learning

Published by British Academy

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780197264812
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754029 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Max Perutz and the SPSL

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This chapter focuses on Austrian-born molecular biologist Max Perutz (1914–2002). Perutz was one of twenty scientific refugees from continental Europe who went on to win Nobel Prizes. A chemist and molecular biologist, he led the first successful attempt to discover the three-dimensional structure of protein molecules using X-ray crystallography, for which he shared the 1962 Nobel Prize. He was the founding chairman of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, an institution that continues to thrive and counts thirteen Nobel Prize-winners among those who have spent time in its laboratories. Although Perutz applied to the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning (SPSL) for funding, in the event he did not need their money. His case, however, offers an excellent example of the emotional and practical support SPSL's officers extended to all academics who found themselves in precarious situations in the years following the rise to power of the Nazis in Germany and their subsequent conquest or annexation of neighbouring countries.

Keywords: molecular biology; Max Perutz; Nobel Prize; protein molecules; X-ray crystallography; SPSL

Chapter.  5053 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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