John C. Kendrew

Facts

John Cowdery Kendrew

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

John Cowdery Kendrew
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1962

Born: 24 March 1917, Oxford, United Kingdom

Died: 23 August 1997, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Affiliation at the time of the award: MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Prize motivation: “for their studies of the structures of globular proteins”

Prize share: 1/2

Work

When X-rays pass through a crystalline structure, the patterns formed can be captured as photographic images, which are then used to determine the crystal's structure. During the 1930s, this method was used to map increasingly large and complex molecules. In 1957, John Kendrew became the first person to successfully determine the atomic structure of a protein. He had unlocked the structure of myoglobin, an oxygen-storing protein found in muscle cells.

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