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John C. Kendrew

John C. KendrewAKA John Cowdery Kendrew

Born: 24-Mar-1917
Birthplace: Oxford, Oxfordshire, England
Died: 23-Aug-1997
Location of death: Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Agnostic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Occupation: Chemist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Determined structure of myoglobin

Military service: Royal Air Force (Honorary Commander, WWII)

English chemist John C. Kendrew studied the structure of proteins, and pioneered the use of x-ray crystallography in determining protein structures. In 1957 he successfully applied Max F. Perutz's isomorphic replacement technique to present an accurate three-dimensional model of the arrangement of amino acids in the myoglobin molecule, where oxygen is stored for the muscles. His work helped set the stage for the development of molecular biology, and Kendrew and Perutz shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Kendrew was the founder and for decades Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Journal of Molecular Biology in 1959.

His parents divorced when he was an infant, and he was raised by his father, who was a climatologist at Oxford. He wore glasses, and for reasons uncertain he was called "Binks" by his friends. He was married for several years ending with divorce in 1956, but had no children. He retired in 1987, and died ten years later.

Father: Wilfrid George Kendrew (climatologist)
Mother: Evelyn May Graham Sandberg (art historian, p/k/a Evelyn Sandberg Vavals, div. 1921)
Girlfriend: Suzi Ambache (dated early 1940s)
Wife: Elizabeth Gorvin Jarvie (m. 1948, div. 1956)

    High School: Clifton College, Bristol, England (1936)
    University: BS Chemistry, Trinity College, Cambridge University (1939)
    Scholar: Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge University (1946-49)
    Fellow: Peterhouse College, Cambridge University (1947-75)
    University: PhD, Trinity College, Cambridge University (1949)
    Administrator: European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany (1975-81)
    Administrator: President, St. John's College, Oxford University (1981-87)

    Ministry of Aircraft Production, 1939-46
    Royal Institution of Great Britain 1954
    Royal Society 1960
    American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Foreign Member, 1962
    Commander of the British Empire 1962
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1962 (with Max F. Perutz)
    Knight of the British Empire 1974
    National Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
    Journal of Molecular Biology Founder, 1959
    Journal of Molecular Biology Editor-in-Chief, 1959-87

Author of books:
The Thread of Life: An Introduction to Molecular Biology (1967)


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