15 December 1959
Sir Lawrence Bragg, F.R.S.
Davy Faraday Research Laboratory
The Royal Institution
21, Albemarle Street
London, W.l, ENGLAND
I have been pleased to consider the matter raised in your letter of 9 December.
With respect to Perutz and Kendrew, I must say that it seems to me that the nomination
for a Nobel Prize is premature. The work is assuming greater and greater significance,
but the most significant papers have not yet been published. Even after their publication,
some time will have to go by before their evaluation has been achieved. I look forward
with great interest to the publication of the papers that are mentioned in your summary
of their work.
The work of Watson and Crick is in a different category, and I would be willing to
write a supporting letter for their nomination for a Nobel Prize. It seems to me,
however, that their work constitutes a contribution in the field of biology, rather
than of chemistry, and I think that it would be appropriate for a Nobel Prize in physiology
and medicine to be awarded to them, rather than a Nobel Prize in chemistry.
With respect to x-ray diffraction and chemistry, I have a proposal to make to you,
and I should be glad to have your opinion about it. I should like to nominate Dorothy
Hodgkin and J. M. Bijvoet for a Nobel Prize in chemistry, to be divided between them.
The award would be for their use of x-ray diffraction in the solution of chemical
problems, the determination of the structure of penicillin and cobalamine, in the
case of Dorothy Hodgkin, and the determination of the correct absolute configurations
of asymmetric molecules, in the case of Bijvoet. Would you support this nomination?
With best regards, I am