February 23, 1938
I was pleased to learn from Professor Millikan of the action of your Board on our application, and I wish to express to you my thanks for your interest in our work. I am of course aware of the fact that our plans for organic chemistry not only have been developed with the aid of your continued advice but also are based on your initial suggestion and encouragement; and I can foresee that I shall be indebted to you also for the opportunity of carrying on my own scientific work in the future to as great an extent as I have been during the past six years.
I had two extended talks with Dr. Wrinch, who also spoke at our seminar at Cornell. I was greatly disappointed in her. She did not present as good a case for her theory as do her published papers. I shall send you my report about her soon.
I am very much interested in protein structure, and since talking with Dr. Wrinch it has seemed to me that I should prepare a paper on my ideas. I have been averse to doing this because of their speculative nature; they are, however, superior to Dr. Wrinch's, in my opinion.
Would you advise me about Dr. R. B. Corey, formerly with Wyckoff? He has been working here during the last year of his appointment as Associate of the Rockefeller Institute, and has brought some apparatus with him. He is now working, at my suggestion, on diketopiperazine, and his results provide very valuable information regarding the interactions of the polypeptide backbone. It is planned that he continue studying simple crystals related to proteins and also work on proteins themselves. He is an able and well-trained man, and I think that our x-ray program would be aided immensely if he could be retained. On the other hand, the Institute has not planned to add another man to the permanent staff, and moreover, no suitable appointment was mentioned in our tentative budget. Do you think that it would be wise to offer temporary appointment as Senior Fellow in Research to Corey, perhaps for a definite term of three years? I believe that his salary could be included in the molecular-structure budget of $15,000.00 (of which $5,000.00 is provided by the Institute). Would you consider $3000 a suitable salary? I do not know what salary he receives from the Rockefeller Institute. He is married, and is forty years old. He served as instructor at Cornell from 1923 to 1928 and was with Wyckoff from 1928 to 1937.
There are some additional problems connected with our organic program on which I should like to have your advice. They are outlined on the accompanying pages
Todd has written that he is applying for the organic professorship at King's College, London, the decision to be made early this month. We may thus lose him before his visit, which is planned for the month beginning March 11th. I have written him asking that he stop in New York to see you.
English is doing well with his bean-test hormone, traumatin, and Buchman's work on vitamin B2 analogs is progressing. Buchman is a fine man to have in the laboratory; he is interested in the problems of all the research men and helps with advice. He has a wide knowledge of organic reactions. He will be appointed Senior Fellow in Research next year, without stipend.
An International Fellow, Delbrück, is now here in Biology, working on bacteriophage. He has impressed by very favorably. His training in physics is good and he attacks biological problems in a sensible way. He understands their nature, whereas Dr. Wrinch does not.
I am getting more interested in biological problems every day, and am anxious to see our new program in effect.