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Letter from Jerry Donohue to Linus Pauling. March 20, 1953.
Donohue writes to pass along a copy of his revised helical protein structures paper and to note the background behind a few changes that he has made. Donohue also relays news of "a very ingenious nucleic acid structure" that Watson and Crick have formulated, but not yet published. Donohue further inquires into the possibility of working again at Caltech and briefly discusses his on-going interests in sheep hemoglobin and cesium hexasulfide.


March 20, 1953

Dear Dr. Pauling

I enclose a copy of the helical paper. You will note that I now include the αII ribbon among the possible structures. I found the version in the paper in a very curious way: I set out to prove analytically that it couldn't be built, and as I rotated the two residues the hydrogen bond gradually became "satisfactory!" I hope we have time to discuss this when you are here next month, unless you wish to send it off to the PNAS straight away.

Watson and Crick have constructed a very ingenious nucleic acid structure which they have written (but not sent) a letter to Nature about. They will send you a copy at the beginning of next week, as Bragg is now ill with flu, and they feel he should see it before they send it anywhere. I have become (actively) interested in this problem myself, although I find I lack the necessary background, a situation which I am now remedying.

Have you heard any more about the grant for the nucleic acid program that you mentioned in your letter to me on December 23, as I should certainly appreciate the "definite offer" you wrote of, as I do not have any other firm prospects at the moment.

The EDSAC is at present being overhauled. When that job is finished I hope to be able to run off the three Pattersons on sheep Hb, as the experimental part is finished. I do not think this will be done until the end of next month, though.



P. S. The reason that the CS2S6 structure in the February Acta still shows the alternating S-S distances is that the parameters differ from those in the MIT report you had. They differ in such a way as to preserve the alternation when the correct conversion from triclinic to orthogonal coordinates is made.

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