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Peter Mitchell

Peter MitchellAKA Peter Dennis Mitchell

Born: 29-Sep-1920
Birthplace: Mitcham, Surrey, England
Died: 10-Apr-1992
Location of death: Bodmin, Cornwall, England
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Atheist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist

Nationality: England
Executive summary: ADP to ATP conversion in mitochondria

British chemist Peter Mitchell developed chemiosmotic theory in 1961, to explain how the mitochondria of living cells generate energy by converting adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to adenosine triphosphate (ATP). His work was considered outside the mainstream of science, but after several years of research at Glynn he published detailed evidence supporting his theory in a 1966 pamphlet and a 1968 follow-up, colloquially called "the little grey books" for their bland covers. His theory gained scientific acceptance by the early 1970s, and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1978.

His first dissertation at Cambridge was rejected, and to earn his doctorate he was forced to discard his work and begin again on an entirely different topic. He was granted his PhD in 1950, and even taught at Cambridge for several years, but left the academic realm in 1963 to start his own laboratory in a refurbished mansion, funded by his brother and called Glynn Research Foundation. He suffered from advancing deafness, and lost his hearing entirely in 1972 in a botched surgery, ironically intended to correct his condition. As a complication of the deafness and surgical injury, he suffered intermittent bouts of dizziness, and heard inexplicable noises in his ears that made him an insomniac.

Father: Christopher Gibbs Mitchell (civil servant, OBE, b. 1883)
Mother: Kate Beatrice Dorothy Taplin Mitchell (b. 1887, m. 3-Jul-1914)
Brother: Christopher John Mitchell ("Bill", Glynn funder, b. 1916)
Wife: Eileen Rollo (m. 11-Dec-1944, div. 1954, one daughter)
Daughter: Julia
Girlfriend: Brenda Roberts
Wife: Helen ffrench (sic) Robertson (m. 1958)

    High School: Queens College, Taunton, England (1939)
    University: PhD, Jesus College, Cambridge University (1950)
    Teacher: Biochemistry, Cambridge University (1950-55)
    Professor: Zoology and Biology, University of Edinburgh (1955-63)

    Novartis (CIBA) Medal and Prize 1973
    Louis and Bert Freedman Foundation Award 1974
    Warren Triennial Prize 1974
    Feldberg Foundation Prize 1976
    Rosenberg Award of Brandeis University 1977
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1978
    Copley Medal 1981
    French Academy of Sciences Foreign Member
    Glynn Research Foundation Co-Founder & Director, 1963-92
    Japanese Biochemical Society Foreign Member
    National Academy of Sciences Foreign Associate
    Royal Society 1974
    Royal Society of Edinburgh
    Society of General Microbiology
    Surgery Ear canals, 1972
    Nervous Breakdown 1977
    Risk Factors: Deafness, Insomnia


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