Dr. Max Ferdinand Perutz, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1962

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Dr. Max Ferdinand Perutz, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1962

Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Death: February 06, 2002 (87)
Cambridge, England (United Kingdom) (Died of cancer after a long and productive life)
Place of Burial: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom
Immediate Family:

Son of Hugo Perutz and Dely (Adele) Perutz
Husband of Gisela Clara Mathilde Perutz
Father of Private and Private
Brother of Franz Perutz and Lotte Perutz

Occupation: Professor of Biochemistry, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1962
Managed by: Yuval Peter Aronade
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Dr. Max Ferdinand Perutz, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1962

Max Ferdinand Perutz, OM, CH, CBE, FRS (May 19, 1914, Vienna, Austria – February 6, 2002, Cambridge, United Kingdom) was an Austrian-born British molecular biologist, who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with John Kendrew, for their studies of the structures of hemoglobin and globular proteins. He went on to win the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1971 and the Copley Medal in 1979. At Cambridge he founded and chaired (1962–79) The Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, fourteen of whose scientists have won Nobel Prizes.


From Nobel Lectures, Chemistry 1942-1962, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1964:

Max Ferdinand Perutz was born in Vienna on May 19th, 1914. Both his parents, Hugo Perutz and Dely Goldschmidt, came from families of textile manufacturers who had made their fortune in the 19th century by the introduction of mechanical spinning and weaving into the Austrian monarchy. He was sent to school at the Theresianum, a grammar school derived from an officers academy of the days of the empress Maria Theresia, and his parents suggested that he should study law in preparation for entering the family business. However, a good schoolmaster awakened his interest in chemistry, and he had no difficulty in persuading his parents to let him study the subject of his choice.

In 1932, he entered Vienna University, where he, in his own words, "wasted five semesters in an exacting course of inorganic analysis". His curiosity was aroused, however, by organic chemistry, and especially by a course of organic biochemistry, given by F. von Wessely, in which Sir F.G. Hopkins' work at Cambridge was mentioned. It was here that Perutz decided that Cambridge was the place where he wanted to work for his Ph.D. thesis. With financial help from his father he became a research student at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge under J.D. Bernal in September 1936, and he has stayed at Cambridge ever since.

After Hitler's invasion in Austria and Czechoslovakia, the family business was expropriated, his parents became refugees, and his own funds were soon exhausted. He was saved by being appointed research assistant to Sir Lawrence Bragg, under a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, on January 1st, 1939. The grant continued, with various interruptions due to the war, until 1945, when Perutz was given an Imperial Chemical Industries Research Fellowship. In October 1947, he was made head of the newly constituted Medical Research Council Unit for Molecular Biology, with J.C. Kendrew representing its entire staff. He continued holding this post until he was made Chairman of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, in March 1962. His collaboration with Sir Lawrence Bragg has continued through all these years.

The scientific work of Perutz on the structure of haemoglobin started as a result of a conversation with F. Haurowitz in Prague, in September 1937. G.S. Adair made him the first crystals of horse haemoglobin, and Bernal and I. Fankuchen showed him how to take X-ray pictures and how to interpret them. Early in 1938, Bernal, Fankuchen, and Perutz [Nature, 141 (1938) 523] published a joint paper on X-ray diffraction from crystals of haemoglobin and chymotrypsin. The chymotrypsin crystals were twinned and therefore difficult to work with, and so Perutz continued with haemoglobin. D. Keilin, then Professor of Biology and Parasitology at Cambridge, soon became interested in the work and provided Perutz and his colleagues with the biochemical laboratory facilities which they lacked at the Cavendish. Thus from 1938 until the early fifties the protein chemistry was done at Keilin's Molteno Institute and the X-ray work at the Cavendish, with Perutz busily bridging the gap between biology and physics on his bicycle. The rest of the story is well-known and forms the subject of his Nobel discourse.

Perutz has persued one sideline concerned with glaciers, studying their crystal texture and mechanism of flow, but this was mainly an excuse for working in the mountains: he is a keen mountaineer, his other recreations being walking, skiing and gardening. Scientifically, his overwhelming interest lies on the side of molecular biology. He is grateful for having had the good fortune of being joined by colleagues of great ability, several of whom have now been honoured with the Nobel Prize at the same time as Perutz himself. Kendrew came in 1946, Crick in 1948, and Watson arrived as a visitor in 1951. Recently F. Sanger, who received the Nobel Prize in 1958, also joined forces with them. Perutz is extremely happy at the generous recognition given by the Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Royal Karolinska Institute to their great common adventures and hopes that it will spur them to new endeavours.

Perutz, who is a Fellow of the Royal Society, was made Commander of the British Empire in 1962. He is also an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

In 1942, Perutz married Gisela Peiser. They have two children, Vivien (b. 1944) and Robin (b. 1949). _______________________________________________________ Indiana Gazette - Indiana, Pennsylvania - Feb 7 2002 Indiana Gazette - Indiana, Pennsylvania - Feb 7 2002 Newspaper Archive WOW Text: "...was the Honduran governments press secretary from 1978 to 1980 during the military regime of General Paz Gar cia MaxPerutz LONDON Nobel laureate MaxPerutz whose work remains a foun dation of molecular biology died ... Page 4 Thursday February 7 2002 Obituaries REGION Joseph Lester Joseph P Lester 75 of Derry died Wednesday Feb He was born to Ambrose and Mary Anna Fisher Lester on March in Deny He was a member ... of Carpenters and Joiners Union Local 333 the Derry Ukes Twin Maples Bow and Gun Club New Derry Sportsmen Millwood Sportsmen and AFLOAT He is survived by his wife Mary Ann Dicesere Lester two sons Joseph J Lester ... Jo Bracken and her husband Joseph of Derry and Susan M Lester of Deny Also ..." Date: Feb 7 2002 Publication: Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States of America


Aiken Standard - Aiken, South Carolina - Feb 7 2002 Aiken Standard - Aiken, South Carolina - Feb 7 2002 Newspaper Archive WOW Text: "...LONDON Nobel laureate MaxPerutz whose work remains a foundation of molecular biology died of cancer Wednesday in Cam bridge England He was 87 Perutz and colleague John Kendrew won the Nobel Prize ... tion of Rogets International Thesaurus published by in 1992 He also edited the New Dic of American Slang the Thesaurus of American Slang both published by and the fourth edition of Rogets MaxPerutZ ... r r r i r r f I Page edited by Josh Pen rod Aiken news Aiken Standard Aiken SC Thursday February 7 2002 5A DEATHS FUNERALS Betty MM GLOVERVILLE Betty Jean Busbee Ingle Garland of South Street died ... Monday Feb 42002 Funeral services will be held at 3 pm Friday Feb 8 in the Langley Pentecostal Holiness Church The Revs Gene Brown Buster Young blood..." Date: Feb 7 2002 Publication: Aiken, South Carolina, United States of America

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Dr. Max Ferdinand Perutz, Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1962's Timeline

May 19, 1914
Vienna, Austria
February 6, 2002
Age 87
Cambridge, England (United Kingdom)
Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England, United Kingdom