Lipscomb (Lipscomb), William N.( American physical chemist Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1976)
Comments for Lipscomb (Lipscomb), William N.
Biography Lipscomb (Lipscomb), William N.
genus. December 9, 1919
American physical chemist William Nunn Lipscomb was born in Cleveland (Ohio), a family of Edna (Porter), Lipscomb and William H. Lipscomb. A year after his birth the family moved to Lexington (Kentucky). After completing secondary school A. enrolled in the University of Kentucky and in 1941. received a bachelor of science in chemistry. That same fall he began his studies in physics in graduate school at Caltech. However, encouraged by Linus K. Polito, one of his professors, and later supervisor in preparing his doctoral thesis, a year later he returned to the study of physical chemistry. In the period between 1942 and 1945. L., interrupting his scientific studies, conducted war-related needs study for the Office of Research and Development.
Returning in 1945. the California Institute of Technology, L. next year received his doctorate for a thesis on the subject of X-ray crystallography and electron diffraction study of organic compounds. After that, he was appointed assistant professor of physical chemistry at the University of Minnesota, where in 1950, Mr.. became an associate professor and in 1954 - full professor. In 1959, Mr.. L. moved to Harvard University professor's job, and from 1962 to 1965. headed the Department of Chemistry there. Since 1971. L. - Professor of Chemistry at Harvard.
Even at Caltech scientist interested in the formation of chemical bonds in borohydride, also known as borani. Several of these are rarely found in nature of compounds were synthesized by the representative of the previous generation of scientists - the German chemist Alfred rod. Molecular structure of boranes remained unknown, but their empirical formulas gave reason to assume the existence of the curious features of their chemical bonds. The interpretation of these features suggested by Pauling, while the leading authority on the theory of chemical bonds, seemed to L. far from perfect.
When L. in 1946. moved to the University of Minnesota, he decided to prove that his former teacher is wrong. Chemistry of boranes were considered to be not only a mystery, but an extremely complex area, because borani very volatile, unstable and even explosive. L. developed a new technology for the study of these compounds by X-ray diffraction at high vacuum and low temperature, and he was able to describe their structure as kletkopodobnye polyhedra.
. LA, however, wanted to solve the riddle of boranes not only empirical but also in the theoretical manner
. Prevailed at that time, the theory asserts that atoms in molecules boranes are held together with covalent bonds (two-center) bonds, ie. two atoms forming a chemical bond, holds together the connecting a pair of electrons. The problem was that from the standpoint of this theory was impossible to explain the set L. structure of boranes. Boron atoms have too little bonding electrons to share them with the number of hydrogen atoms with which they were known to be connected. In the work done in 1953. with chemists Brice Crawford and U.H. Eberhardt, a message which appeared the following year in the 'Journal of Chemical Physics' ( 'Journal of Chemical Physics'), L. speculated that the lack of electrons in fact only apparent. These scientists held the view that some of the atoms in the molecules of boranes are involved in three-center bonds, where electrons couple together or 3 atoms of boron or 2 boron atoms and one hydrogen atom, forming the so-called hydrogen bridge. 'We have dared to several prophecies - they wrote later - in advance only consolation is that too if we are to join the ranks of predictors that failed in the chemistry of boranes, we find ourselves in the best company. "
. Their concept of three-center bonds, however, was not only correct, but also became the key to the new topological theory of the formation of chemical bonds in boranes
. It explains the structure of boranes and predicts the possibility of new compounds. Chemists, guided by it, creating a large number of stable molecules kletkopodobnyh. Moreover, L. applied this new modification of the theory of chemical bonds to the understanding of reactivity in carboranes, which are used in the synthesis of polymers, show a remarkable resistance to thermal and chemical degradation. Boran LA, apparently, will also be useful in cancer radiation therapy. Russell Grimes in the journal 'Science' ( 'Science') suggested that the carboranes have a profound impact on the future of organic synthesis since that 'revolution' in the perception of the covalent bond, which caused a work of L. chemistry of boranes.
In 1976. L. was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 'for the study of the structure of boranes, clarifying the problem of chemical bonds'. In his Nobel lecture L. said: 'My original intention in the late 40-ies. suggestion was to spend several years on the detailed study of boranes, and then draw up a systematic description of the valence of the vast number of compounds, which is inherent lack of electrons'. 'I was very little progress to the latter purpose, - he added - but the chemistry of boranes has grown significantly, and now begins the systematic study of some of its complexities'. In connection with the awarding of the Nobel Prize scientist replied thus: 'I know that he wrote many good articles on the boranes, but had never been convinced that they are read'.
When L. moved to Harvard University, a priority in its research program was given to the biochemistry. Particular attention it has focused on clarifying the structures of complex proteins as a means of studying the mechanisms of their functions in the human body, since the function is determined by the form of protein. This work is connected with the decision extremely difficult problems because of the large quantities of protein molecules. Fundamentally novel approach L. is to use technology X-ray diffraction with the assistance of computers features. The largest of its success in this study relates to the structural analysis of the digestive enzyme karboksipentidaza And who brought him to the alleged mechanism of activity of this enzyme. At present, scientists are focusing on the regulatory enzyme aspartate trans-karbamoilaza which controls the synthesis of amino acids in the basic components of human and animal. This enzyme is, therefore, crucial for the growth of cells in all living organisms. If neither L. believes he has made a study of the digestive enzymes of their best work, in case if his 'offensive' to the aspartate trans-karbamoilazu succeed, better, perhaps, this will be his last work.
Achievements L. explained not only by the boldness of his scientific imagination, but also the versatility and flexibility of its approaches. This is how a scientist says he: 'As I am a physical chemist. I have received an academic degree related to the field of physical chemistry. Previously, I worked in the field of inorganic ... now - as a biochemist. But do not look for a contradiction. This is all the structure and function '.
In 1944, Mr.. L. married Mary Adele. In the couple's son and daughter born. In 1983. they were separated, and in the same year, L. registered the marriage to Jean Evans, who worked as an artist in publishing
'He came to town farmer from the heartland' - describes the scientist author of books on science Rebecca Rawls. U L. own laboratory, where he directs the team, displaying an enviable sense of humor. Colleagues and students are very tied to the scientist and, mindful of the fact that he grew up in Kentucky, turning to him in no other way as 'Colonel'. L. plays the clarinet with almost professional skill ( 'Chamber music - my insatiable passion', . - Recognized scholar), . in their scientific articles quoted by Lewis Carroll and is a society of admirers of Sherlock Holmes, . known as 'oddities Baker Street'.,
. won many awards. Among them: a reward for outstanding achievements of the American Chemical Society (1968), George Ledley Prize at Harvard University (1971), Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry (1973) and reward Ramsay (1976) American Chemical Society. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American National Academy of Sciences and a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and Literature. Scientist awarded honorary degrees from Kentucky, Harvard, Munich and Long Aylendskogo universities, as well as Rutgers University and Marietta College.