4 February 1953
I am writing to tell you that we have found that the atomic coordinates inour nucleic
acid structure need to be changed a bit. One of the van der Waals contacts is too
close – between carbon atom 5’ and an inner oxygen atom of the phosphate group to
which it is bonded. I judge that I overlooked this contact when I was making the
final calculations – in the preliminary structure there were several van der Waals
contacts that were pretty small, and I hunted around for parameters that would increase
all of them until they were at least acceptable. Apparently I forgot to include this
contact in the final process. It will be a few weeks before we have finished the
job of checking over the parameters again, but I expect them to come out all right
– at any rate I hope so.
At the present time I have reservations to leave New York on Thursday 2 April and
arrive in London on Friday 3 April, and then to leave London on Monday 6 April. However,
Bragg wrote that he and Lady Bragg were planning to go to Brussels on Tuesday 7 April,
and I probably shall delay my trip for one day, thus arriving at London Airport on
Saturday 4 April and leaving on Tuesday. Then I shall fly directly back to the United
States after the Solvay Congress is over. I plan to meet Mama in New York. Then
we shall stay for a few days in New Haven, where I am to give the Treat B. Johnson
lectures, go to Philadelphia for the American Philosophical Society meeting, to Washington
for the National Academy meeting, to Buffalo for a few days, where I shall give the
Foster lectures, and then home.
Let me say that we have enjoyed very much having the copies of the London Times and
the New Statesman and Nation that you sent us. I hope that you will save up more,
and send them to us.
I think that I should get another Riley –essentially the same as the one that I have,
but not in such bad shape. Do you think that we could save any money if you were
to buy the Riley for me, in England, or should I approach International Motors and
put in the order right away? I do not want you to buy it until summer time – anyway,
you probably will be so busy with myoglobin that you wouldn’t have time to drive it
around. Please let me know at once whether the plan for you to buy it for me is feasible.
We are hoping to get on a freighter, probably in Scandinavia, about 20 August, to
go by ship, with the car on the same ship, to the eastern United States, and then
to drive home across the country. We are due in Tübingen on 8 July. We have a chemistry
teachers workshop scheduled for Pasadena from 22 June to 29 June, and accordingly
probably shall fly to England about 1 July. This means that we shall have to move
right along to get to Tübingen. I hope that you are planning to make part of the
journey with us.
I am still working on the job of finishing up the new edition of GENERAL CHEMISTRY.
I do not think that it is done perfectly, but it will be interesting to see whether
the new chapters are useful in teaching our own freshmen.