19 December 1952
Mr. Henry Allen Moe
John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation
551 Fifth Avenue
New York 17, N.Y.
Thanks for sending me the clipping from the New York Times on the synthesis of some
coenzymes by Todd.
Todd's work is of the greatest importance. I think that his earlier work on the
synthesis of nucleosides and nucleotides is probably to be considered as more important
than just the synthesis of these coenzymes. This recent synthesis is a continuation
of the earlier work - an application of now synthetic methods that Todd discovered.
You no doubt remember that we had Todd over here, in the spring of 1938, and that
we offered him a professorship. He would have accepted it, I think, except that
the British got busy and arranged for a professorship at Manchester to be given to
him. I believe that Todd is to be considered the leading organic chemist in Great
Britain now, except for Sir Robert Robinson.
I talked with Todd about his work a good bit this summer; we stayed with the Todds
in Cambridge. In particular, I discussed the significance of his results with respect
to the structure of nucleic acids. Principally as a result of this meeting with
him, I have now discovered, I believe, the structure of the nucleic acids themselves.
Biologists probably consider that the problem of the structure of nucleic acid is
fully as important as the structure of proteins. I think that Dr. Corey and I will
probably send in a note on the discovery of the structure of nucleic acids next month;
we want to check up on our present structure a bit more before announcing it.
Linus Pauling: W