COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. Max Perutz, a pioneer in the field of protein crystallography and a Nobel laureate, was one of the first to study the molecular structures of proteins. His life story, wonderfully told by Georgina Ferry, was recently published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
Max Perutz was not just a scientist, wrote Dr. Richard E. Dickerson of UCLA while reviewing the book in the journal Protein Science. [H]e was a fine human being with strong family ties and with interests that ranged far beyond protein structures. The book, which is entitled Max Perutz and the Secret of Life, includes pictures that reflect Maxs personal and professional life, as well as insights gained through access to his personal letters.
Born in Vienna, Jewish by descent, and lapsed Catholic by religion, Max came to Cambridge in 1936 to join the lab of the legendary Communist thinker J.D. Bernal. There he began a 70-year career in science. In 1940 he was interned and deported to Canada as an enemy alien, only to be brought back and set to work on a bizarre top-secret war project. In 1947, he founded the small research group in which Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the structure of DNA: under his leadership it grew to become the world-famous Laboratory for Molecular Biology.
Ferry succeeds in bringing [Perutz] sharply to life, wrote Dr. Gregory Petsko, Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry at Brandeis University, in a review of the book in the journal Nature. [She] avoids the pop-psychology that permeates so many modern biographies, while offering insight into Perutzs temperament and behaviour.
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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory