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Alexander R. Todd

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alexander Robertus Todd, Baron Todd OM PRS FRSE[1] (2 October 1907 – 10 January 1997) was a Scottish biochemist whose research on the structure and synthesis of nucleotides, nucleosides, and nucleotide coenzymes gained him the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

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Contents

Early life and education

Todd was born in Cathcart in outer Glasgow, the son of Alexander Todd, a clerk with the Glasgow Subway, and his wife, Jane Lowry.[2]

He attended Allan Glen's School and graduated from the University of Glasgow with a BSc in 1928. He received a PhD (Dr.phil.nat.) from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main in 1931 for his thesis on the chemistry of the bile acids.

Todd was awarded an 1851 Research Fellowship from the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851,[3] and, after studying at Oriel College, Oxford, he gained another doctorate in 1933.

Career

After graduating from the University of Oxford, Todd held posts with the Lister Institute, the University of Edinburgh (staff, 1934–1936) and the University of London, where he was appointed Reader in Biochemistry.

In 1938, Alexander Todd spent six months as a visiting professor at California Institute of Technology, eventually declining an offer of faculty position.[4][5] Todd became the Sir Samuel Hall Chair of Chemistry and Director of the Chemical Laboratories of the University of Manchester in 1938, where he began working on nucleosides, compounds that form the structural units of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA).

In 1944, he was appointed to the 1702 Chair of Chemistry in the University of Cambridge, which he held until his retirement in 1971.[6] In 1949, he synthesised adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD). Todd served as a visiting professor at the University of Chicago in Autumn 1948[7] and University of Sydney in 1950.[4][8][9]

In 1955, he helped elucidate the structure of vitamin B12, although the final formula and definite structure was determined by Dorothy Hodgkin and her team, and later worked on the structure and synthesis of vitamin B1 and vitamin E, the anthocyanins (the pigments of flowers and fruits) from insects (aphids, beetles) and studied alkaloids found in hashish and marijuana. He served as chairman of the Government of the United Kingdom's advisory committee on scientific policy from 1952 to 1964.

He was elected a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge in 1944 and was Master from 1963 to 1978. He became Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde in 1975, and a visiting professor at Hatfield Polytechnic (1978–1986). Among his many honours, including over 40 honorary degrees, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1942, was President of the Royal Society from 1975 to 1980 and became a member of the Order of Merit in 1977.[10]

In 1981, Todd became a founding member of the World Cultural Council.[11]

He died in Cambridge on 10 January 1997 following a heart attack.

Family

In 1937 Baron Todd married Alison Sarah Dale (d.1987), daughter of Nobel Prize winner Sir Henry Dale, who, as Todd did, served as President of the Royal Society of London. They had a son, Alexander Henry, and two daughters, Helen Jean and Hilary Alison.

Honours

Todd was honoured as a Nieuwland Lecturer at the University of Notre Dame in 1948,[12] an Arthur D. Little Visiting Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1954,[4][13] and a Hitchcock Lecturer at University of California, Berkeley, in 1957.[4][14]

He was knighted as Sir Alexander Todd in 1954[15] and was created a Life Peer as Baron Todd of Trumpington in the County of Cambridge on 16 April 1962.[16]

He is commemorated by a blue plaque erected by the Royal Society of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge's Department of Chemistry.

Coat of arms of Alexander R. Todd
Crest
In front of an open book Proper bound Or a fox passant guardant Gules.
Escutcheon
Gules a chevron between in chief two foxes' masks and in base a serpent embowed biting the tail Or.
Supporters
Dexter an ounce and sinister a fox each sable bezanty and gorged with a ducal coronet with chain reflexed over the back Or pendant from the coronet by a like chain an escutcheon blue celeste.
Motto
Faire Sans Dire [17]

Bibliography

  • Todd, Alexander (1983), A time to remember: the autobiography of a chemist, Cambridge University Press

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Brown, D. M.; Kornberg, H. (2000). "Alexander Robertus Todd, O.M., Baron Todd of Trumpington. 2 October 1907 – 10 January 1997: Elected F.R.S. 1942". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 46: 515. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1999.0099.
  2. ^ Brown, Daniel M.; Kornberg, Hans (2000). "Alexander Robertus Todd, O. M., Baron Todd of Trumpington. 2 October 1907-10 January 1997". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 46: 517–532. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1999.0130. JSTOR 770414.
  3. ^ 1851 Royal Commission Archives
  4. ^ a b c d "Lord Todd - Biographical". www.nobelprize.org. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  5. ^ Kay, Lily E. (3 December 1992). The Molecular Vision of Life: Caltech, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rise of the New Biology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190281618.
  6. ^ Archer, Mary D.; Haley, Christopher D. (2005), The 1702 chair of chemistry at Cambridge: transformation and change, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-82873-2, Chapter 9: Alexander Todd, p 233
  7. ^ Todd, Alexander (17 November 1983). A Time to Remember: The Autobiography of a Chemist. Cambridge University Press. p. 110. ISBN 0521255937.
  8. ^ "Our Work with Cyanogenic Plants".
  9. ^ "ChemNEWS (FACULTY OF SCIENCE)" (PDF). The University of Sydney.
  10. ^ "No. 47362". The London Gazette. 28 October 1977. p. 13613.
  11. ^ "About Us". World Cultural Council. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  12. ^ Todd, Alexander R (1949). Vitamins, coenzymes and nucleotides; a series of lectures presented at the University of Notre Dame on October 22, 25 and 27, 1948. Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame.
  13. ^ "Postdoc T.Y. Shen Honors his Wife  | MIT Department of Chemistry". chemistry.mit.edu. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Nucleotide Co-Enzymes: A Study in Synthesis | Berkeley Graduate Lectures". gradlectures.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  15. ^ "No. 40227". The London Gazette. 9 July 1954. p. 4026.
  16. ^ "No. 42651". The London Gazette. 17 April 1962. p. 3185.
  17. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 1973.

References

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
William Pope
Professor of Organic Chemistry, Cambridge University
1944–1972
Succeeded by
Ralph Raphael
Preceded by
Brian Downs
Master of Christ's College, Cambridge
1963–1978
Succeeded by
Sir John Plumb
This page was last edited on 31 October 2019, at 15:28
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