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Anfinsen, Christian B. (26 March 1916–14 May 1995), biochemist and Nobel laureate, was born Christian Boehmer Anfinsen, Jr., in Monessen, Pennsylvania, the son of Christian Boehmer Anfinsen, a mechanical engineer, and Sophie Rasmussen Anfinsen. Both parents were from Bergen, Norway, and taught Christian Jr. Norwegian customs and language. The family lived in Charleroi, a small town near Pittsburgh, until the 1920s when they moved to Philadelphia....

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Benedict, Stanley Rossiter (17 March 1884–21 December 1936), biochemist, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Wayland Richardson Benedict, a professor of philosophy and psychology at the University of Cincinnati, and Anne Elizabeth Kendrick, a teacher and author. As a boy, Benedict planned on medicine as a profession and entered the University of Cincinnati in 1902 with that goal in mind. Chemistry classes, however, piqued his interest, especially those with Junius F. Snell, the renowned analytical chemist who had himself worked with ...

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Bergmann, Max (12 February 1886–07 November 1944), biochemist, was born in Fürth, Germany, the son of Solomon Bergmann, a coal merchant, and Rosalie Stettauer. He entered the University of Munich inclined toward botany, but his studies convinced him that biological questions required the methods of organic chemistry for their answers. Following the receipt of a bachelor’s degree in 1907, he became a student of Emil Fischer, a Nobel Prize winner and the world’s foremost protein and carbohydrate chemist, at the University of Berlin. He received a Ph.D. in 1911 and then served as Fischer’s research assistant until the latter’s death in 1919. Bergmann was a privatdocent at Berlin before going to Dresden in 1921 as director of the new Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Leather Research and professor of chemistry at the Dresden Technical University. In Dresden he created one of the leading laboratories for protein chemistry. Bergmann was a Jew, and with the rise to power of Adolf Hitler he came to the United States. From 1934 to his death he was at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York....

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Bloch, Konrad E. (21 January 1912–15 October 2000), biochemist, was born in Neisse, Upper Silesia (then part of Germany), the son of Fritz Bloch, a mechanic, and Hedwig Striemer Bloch. His father, whose family had been in the province since 1800, ran the family drapery business. While on a summer vacation during World War I, Bloch joined his father, a German officer, at the quiet German-Danish front and enjoyed the beaches on the Baltic Sea. During his ...

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Brown, Rachel Fuller (23 November 1898–14 January 1980), biochemist, was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, the daughter of George Hamilton Brown, a real estate and insurance agent, and Annie Fuller, a director of religious education for various Episcopal churches. They moved to Missouri, where in Brown’s last year of elementary school her father left the family in poverty. On the family’s return to Springfield, Rachel enrolled in Commercial High School to become a wage earner, but her mother insisted she transfer to Central High School for a classical education....

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Cannan, Robert Keith (18 April 1894–24 May 1971), biochemist, was born in Fowler, California, the son of David Cannan, a physician, and Mary Cunningham. Cannan’s parents were British subjects, and in 1896 they moved the family to Asheville, North Carolina, before returning to London, England, in 1897. In 1911 he matriculated at the University of London’s East London College and received his B.Sc. in chemistry in 1914. He then joined the British Expeditionary Force as a second lieutenant of infantry and distinguished himself in combat in France. In 1916 he was promoted to captain and completed World War I as a divisional trench mortar officer....

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Chittenden, Russell Henry (08 February 1856–26 December 1943), nutritional biochemist, was born in Westbrook, Connecticut, the son of Horace Horatio Chittenden, an employee of a small manufacturing firm, and Emily Eliza Doane. A rather retiring child, Chittenden grew up in New Haven in a simple home, attending a small private school, a public school, and for college preparation, French’s School in Westbrook. His family had difficulty paying tuition, so French engaged him to clean the classrooms and teach the lower classes in Latin, mathematics, and geography. French also arranged for him to attend the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale, where ...

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Clarke, Hans Thacher (27 December 1887–21 October 1972), biochemist, was born in Harrow, England, the son of Joseph Thacher Clarke, an archaeologist, and Agnes von Helferich. In 1886 inventor George Eastman named Clarke’s father, who had developed an interest in photography, the first representative for Eastman Kodak in Europe. In 1905 Clarke entered University College in London, from which he received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1908. After serving there as a lecturer in chemistry, he obtained in 1911 a two-year scholarship for study in Europe and worked with the protein and carbohydrate chemist, Emil Fischer, at the University of Berlin. He received a doctorate from the University of London in 1914. In Berlin he met Frieda Planck, niece of the physicist Max Planck. She became Clarke’s wife in 1914; they had four children....

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Cohn, Edwin Joseph (17 December 1892–01 October 1953), biological chemist, was born in New York City, the son of Abraham Cohn, a successful tobacco merchant, and Maimie Einstein. He was educated at Amherst College and the University of Chicago, from which he received a B.S. in 1914 and a Ph.D. in zoology and chemistry in 1917. Having decided to devote his career to the study of proteins, he won a National Research Council Fellowship and studied under the protein chemists Søren S. P. Sørensen in Copenhagen, Svante August Arrhenius in Sweden, William B. Hardy and Sir Joseph Barcroft in Cambridge, England, and ...

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Cori, Carl Ferdinand (05 December 1896–20 October 1984), and Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori (15 August 1896–26 October 1957), biochemists, were born in Prague, Austria-Hungary. Carl was the son of Carl Cori, a physician, and Martha Lippich. Gerty was the daughter of Otto Radnitz, a successful businessman, and Martha Neustadt....

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See Cori, Carl Ferdinand

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Dakin, Henry Drysdale (12 March 1880–10 February 1952), biochemist, was born in Hampstead, London, England, the son of Thomas Burns Dakin, owner of a sugar refinery, and Sophia Stevens. In 1893 the family moved to Leeds, where the elder Dakin operated an iron and steel business. Dakin began his education at Merchant Taylor’s School in London and continued at Leeds Modern Academy. In 1898 he entered Yorkshire College, a part of the federal Victoria University that later became the University of Leeds. He received his B.Sc. in 1901 and his D.Sc. in 1909. Before entering the college, Dakin was apprenticed for four years to the city analyst of Leeds, T. Fairley; in that position he carried out many determinations on constituents of foods, fertilizers, drinking water, gasworks byproducts, and even poisons and other forensic materials. He later attributed his breadth of interests and adeptness in laboratory operations to this training....

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Dam, Carl Peter Henrik (21 February 1895–17 April 1976), biochemist, was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, the son of Emil Dam, a pharmaceutical chemist and writer of biographical and historical books, and Emilie Peterson, a teacher. Henrik Dam’s early education was in Copenhagen. He then studied chemistry at the Polytechnic in Copenhagen and received his M.S. in 1920. For three years he served as chemistry instructor at the Royal School of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine. In 1923 he became a biochemistry instructor at the physiology laboratory of the University of Copenhagen. Dam married Inger Olsen of Esrom, Denmark, in 1924; they had no children....

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Dayhoff, Margaret Oakley (11 March 1925–05 February 1983), research biochemist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Kenneth W. Oakley, an industrialist, and Ruth P. Clark. When Margaret was about the age of ten, the Oakleys moved to New York City. There she attended Public School Number 32 and went on to become the valedictorian of the Bayside High School class of 1942. She was awarded a scholarship to Washington Square College of New York University, from which she graduated in 1945 magna cum laude, with honors in mathematics. In 1948 she married Edward S. Dayhoff; they would have two children. In that same year, Margaret Dayhoff received a Ph.D. from Columbia University in quantum chemistry....

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Doisy, Edward Adelbert (13 November 1893–23 October 1986), biochemist and Nobel Prize winner, was born in rural Hume, Illinois, the son of Edward Perez Doisy, a traveling salesman, and Ada Alley. Though neither parent had a high school education, Doisy’s mother insisted that he attend college; when he graduated from the local high school at the age of sixteen he received a scholarship to the University of Illinois and began a two-year premedical course there. Wishing to earn a degree, he took extra courses in bacteriology and physiological and organic chemistry, as well as a special study on the chemistry of nervous tissue that resulted in two publications with the instructor, C. G. MacArthur. He received the B.A. in 1914, and MacArthur persuaded him to stay on for graduate work, resulting in an M.S. in 1916. The year before he had received a scholarship for graduate study at Harvard University, and he began work with chemistry professor ...

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du Vigneaud, Vincent (18 May 1901–11 December 1978), biochemist, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Alfred Joseph du Vigneaud, an inventor and machine designer, and Mary Theresa O’Leary. Du Vigneaud attended Chicago public schools. In his high school senior year he worked on a farm in a federal government program designed to supply farm workers during World War I. Following his 1918 high school graduation, he decided to become a farmer. Because he had also developed an interest in chemistry, his family persuaded him to enter the University of Illinois, where he received B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry in 1923 and 1924. The family being of modest means, he supported himself with several odd jobs. While working as a waiter, he met Zella Zon Ford, a University of Illinois English major. They married in 1924 and had two children....

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Elion, Gertrude (23 January 1918–21 February 1999), biochemist, was born Gertrude Belle Elion in New York City, the daughter of Robert Elion, a dentist, and Bertha Cohen Elion. Both of her parents were immigrants: her father had emigrated to the United States from Lithuania at the age of twelve and her mother from Poland at the age of fourteen. Until the time she was seven years old, the Elion family lived in a large apartment adjoining her father's dental office in Manhattan....

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Elvehjem, Conrad Arnold (27 May 1901–27 July 1962), biochemist and university administrator, was born near McFarland, Wisconsin, the son of Ole Johnson Elvehjem and Christine Lewis, farmers. Growing up on a farm gave Elvehjem a lifelong interest in understanding living things, which he pursued as a researcher in biochemistry and nutrition. His interest in vitamins started as a child, when he read a magazine article about the research done by early pioneers in nutrition including ...

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Folin, Otto (04 April 1867–25 October 1934), biochemist and professor, was born Otto Knut Olof Folin in Åseda (Småland), Sweden, the son of Nils Magnus Folin, a tanner, and Eva Olofsdotter, a midwife. Having completed elementary schooling and because of a stagnant economy, Otto, at age fifteen, was sent to join his older brother, Axel, in Stillwater, Minnesota. Determined to learn English, pay his way, and get an education, Folin graduated from the local high school at age twenty-one, and then in 1892 earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota where he was managing editor of the university’s journal, the ...

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Funk, Casimir (23 February 1884–20 November 1967), biochemist, was born in Warsaw (then a Polish enclave of Russia), the son of Jacques Funk, a dermatologist, and Gustawa Zysan. Because of political conditions in Poland at that time, educational opportunities were marginal. Casimir was tutored at intervals to prepare him for studies in the Warsaw Gymnasium. After graduation in 1900, he was sent to Switzerland, where he spent a year at Geneva before transferring to the University at Bern. There he completed a Ph.D. in 1904, working in the organic chemistry laboratory of Stanislaw Kostanecki. His dissertation dealt with the preparation of Brasilin and Hämatoxylin, two dyes of the stilbene family....