The papers of Max Ferdinand Perutz
Scope and Contents
- 1901 - 2002
Conditions Governing Use
Biographical / Historical
He was educated at the Theresianium, and studied organic and inorganic chemistry at Vienna University before moving to Cambridge in September 1936 to study for his ph.D in the Cavendish laboratory under the direction of JD Bernal. He was part of the crystallography research group. He married Gisela Clara Piser in 1942, and they had two children, Vivien and Robin.
Max was appointed a research assistant to Sir Lawrence Bragg, under a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1939. During the Second World War Max was treated as an enemy alien, and interned in camps in the UK and Canada for 9 months, before this policy was revered and he was brought back to the UK, where he continued his research at the Cavendish.
His war time work included working on the project code-named Habakkuk, which concerned the construction of an aircraft carrier constructed out of the recently invented mixture of ice and woodpulp known as pykrete. In 1945 Max was given an Imperial Chemical Industries Research Fellowship, and in 1947 was made Chairman of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology.
Whilst at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) James D. Watson and Francis Crick determined the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and Max co-discovered the structure of haemoglobin, which transports oxygen in the blood, with John Kendrew in 1957. This work resulted in his sharing the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Kendrew.
He retired as chairman of the MRC LMB in 1979, but remained an active participant in laboratory matters until the very end of his life. He died of cancer on 6 February 2002 at Addenbrooke’s hospital, Cambridge. He was survived by his wife Gisela, and their two children.
Max Perutz was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1954, followed by the CBE in 1963, and the Companion of Honour in 1975, and the order of merit in 1988. He became an honorary fellow of Peterhouse (1962), and Darwin College (1984) Cambridge. He received many honorary degrees and prizes, the last being the Lewis Thomas prize from the Rockefellar University, New York (1997), for his writing on science for the general public.
45 archive box(es)
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- 2007-10-22 09:54:52+00:00
- Language of description
- Script of description