University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Kelvin Club - The Scientific Society of Peterhouse, Cambridge > Bragg, Perutz and Kendrew: The Origins of Molecular Biology

Bragg, Perutz and Kendrew: The Origins of Molecular Biology

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Modern molecular biology encompasses a large variety of disciplines including genetics, haematology, virology, structural and developmental biology, medicine, neuroscience, physiology and cancer research. But it all started in the hands of physicists and chemists all of whom were interested in crystallography and began, in the 1920s, to investigate the structure of proteins, hormones and vitamins.

This non-technical account of the origins of the subject traces (up until the mid-1960s) the key advances made mainly in the Departments of Physics in Munich, Leeds and Cambridge, in the Davy Faraday Laboratory of the Royal Institution in London, the Department of Chemistry in the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and in the Chemical Crystallography Unit in Oxford. The personalities, commitments and contributions of the major individuals that were the principal founders of current day Molecular Biology will be discussed.

This talk is part of the Kelvin Club - The Scientific Society of Peterhouse, Cambridge series.

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