Dixon, Malcolm, 1899-1985 (Professor of Enzyme Biochemistry)
Malcolm Dixon (1899-1985) was born in Cambridge in 1899. He was educated at the Perse School, Cambridge and privately, and went up to Emmanuel College, Cambridge in 1917 to read for the Natural Sciences Tripos, Part II of which he took in 1921. He then came under the influence of Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins and began research on the biochemistry of enzymes at Cambridge, a topic to which he devoted most of his research career. He was appointed University Demonstrator in 1923 and Lecturer in 1928. During the Second World War Dixon directed a research group studying the chemical reactions of poison gases. At the end of the war his standing in enzymology was recognised by the creation of a Subdepartment of Enzyme Biochemistry in the Cambridge Biochemistry Department with Dixon as Director; he was also promoted to Reader in Enzyme Biochemistry by the University. He had already been elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1942. In 1956 Dixon was appointed Chairman of the International Union of Biochemistry (IUB) Commission on Enzymes, which considered questions of nomenclature. It reported successfully in 1961. In 1958 he published (in collaboration with E C Webb) the comprehensive treatise Enzymes. Second and third editions of this internationally authoritative work followed in 1964 and 1979. Dixon was appointed Professor of Enzyme Biochemistry on 1 January 1966 and retired nine months later. He died on 7 December 1985 aged 86. For a full account of the life and career of Dixon see R N Perham's Royal Society memoir (Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society, 34, 1988).