Albert von Szent-Györgyi (1969) - Molecules, Electrons and Biology (German Presentation)

Albert von Szent-Györgyi (1969)

Molecules, Electrons and Biology (German Presentation)

Albert von Szent-Györgyi (1969)

Molecules, Electrons and Biology (German Presentation)

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When the biochemist Albert Szent-Györgyi came to his first Lindau meeting in 1969, his Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was already more than 30 years old. During those 30 years, under dramatic circumstances, he had survived WWII in Hungary, felt the first bitter taste of the Communist regime and moved his research activities to the US. There he found his new scientific home in the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. With private sponsors he started out on a line of research, in which he investigated the possibilities to use chemistry on a molecular level to solve biological problems. One of the most important biological problems at that time, as well as today, is the riddle of cancer. His three lectures at Lindau, 1969, 1975 and 1978, can be looked upon as three progress reports from his ongoing attempts to solve the cancer problem. In the present lecture, his first, he starts by giving a general molecular framework with electron donors and acceptors, not shying away from quantum mechanical concepts such as electron transfer between molecular orbitals. Using this framework he puts forward theories concerning cell division in plants and in human tissue. The project was still going on when Albert Szent-Györgyi passed away in 1986, at the age of 92. Today one can find references to his results and extensions of them by other researchers in the general area of health treatments with natural products. He is remembered today at the MBL of Woods Hole in a list of more than 50 Nobel laureates that have in some way been associated with the laboratory. The list starts with the 1920 physiology or medicine Nobel laureate August Krogh and ends with the three chemistry laureates of 2008. It is also the home of Szent-Györgyi’s original Nobel diploma.

Anders Bárány

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