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John B. Fenn

John B. FennAKA John Bennett Fenn

Born: 15-Jun-1917
Birthplace: New York City
Died: 10-Dec-2010
Location of death: Richmond, VA
Cause of death: unspecified

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

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Electrospray ionization

Military service: US Navy (1952-67)

Chemist John B. Fenn developed a new technique in mass spectrometry called electrospray ionization, a method used to obtain exact molecular weights, key to identifying the roles of proteins, carbohydrates, and other large, complex and non-volatile biomolecules. The primary application of his work, first published in 1988, has been in pharmaceutical research, allowing experimental compounds to be developed more quickly and efficiently. This has led to the development of protease inhibitors, a class of drugs that have proven valuable in the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C. Fenn shared the 2002 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Koichi Tanaka and Kurt WŁthrich, for their work on biological macromolecules.

Father: Herbert Bennett Fenn (d. 1944)
Mother: (d. 1990)
Brother: Norman
Wife: Margaret Wilson (m. for 53 years, d. 1992 automobile accident)
Son: John B. Fenn, Jr. (chemist, b. 1945)

    High School: Berea Academy, Berea, KY (1932)
    University: BA Chemistry, Berea College (1937)
    University: PhD Chemistry, Yale University (1940)
    Professor: US Office of Naval Research, Princeton University (1945-49)
    Professor: Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Sciences, Princeton University (1949-67)
    Professor: Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Yale University (1967-93)
    Professor: Analytical Chemistry, Virginia Commonwealth University (1993-2010)

    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 2002 (with Koichi Tanaka and Kurt WŁthrich)
    Experiment, Inc. Industrial Chemist (1943-45)
    Sharples Chemical Industrial Chemist (1942-43)
    Monsanto Industrial Chemist (1940-42)
    American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    Royal Society of Chemistry Foreign Member

Author of books:
Engines and Entropy: A Thermodynamics Primer (1982, physics)
Mechanisms of Electrospray Ionization (2000, physics)


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