Throwback Thursday: Paul D. Boyer and the Oxygen We Breathe

Nov 21, 2019

Late Nobel Laureate Paul Boyer received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1997 for elucidation of the enzymatic mechanism underlying the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) with John E. Walker and Jens Skou. He participated in three Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings between 1998 and 2002. At the 52nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in 2002, he gave a lecture titled "The Oxygen We Breathe - Friend and Foe". You can listen to his lecture in our mediatheque: 

Paul Boyer received the Nobel Prize fairly late in his career. 79 years old at the time, he had focues on research in enzymes for nearly fifty years. Still, his profound admiration of the ATP molecule never diminished: “DNA is a wonderful molecule but in terms of total properties I feel it takes a second seat to the protein molecule.” 

Boyer also commented on the three reasons for which he believes he obtained the Nobel Prize: Life – or a passion for science and the explanation of living processes; luck – his team could have worked equally hard on an enzyme that didn’t have the wonderful features of rotational catalysis; and longevity – he outlived all his competitors!


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