Matthew Meselson: But that whole approach of Linus - of structure, of weak forces, of detailed complementarity,
of fitting together - I think that emphasis, which was coming so much more from Linus
than from anybody else, was very very important. Then of course there's a whole series
of things, I don't know where to start. For example, the notion that hemoglobin was
a molecular disease, leading eventually to the discovery that it was a single amino
acid change, but at least it was some kind of chemical change in a single molecule,
zeroing in, and since the genetics was already known, of course it had been known
that one gene/one enzyme, that was known. But what do genes do to enzymes? The notion
that they determine their primary structure was by no means clear, and much debated.
Now whether the hemoglobin story made people realize that there must be an amino acid
change and not some folding change, I think that must have been clear, but I’d have
to go back and read.
Then, the whole structure of the alpha helix and the pleated sheet, those have been
very important, not only important in themselves, but exemplifying again, the success
of structural chemistry. And of model building. Linus pioneered, with Corey, model
building. It was outrageous to build models, it violated the purity of mathematical
extremists, but that's what he did, and of course that was the whole paradigm for
how Watson and Crick worked. They didn't really do x-ray crystallography at all, they
took a few hints from the available x-ray diffraction diagrams, and then played with
models. That whole approach was Linus.
Creator: Thomas Hager, Matthew Meselson Associated: Robert Corey, Linus Pauling, James D. Watson, Francis Crick Clip ID: hager2.003.2-impact