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William Lipscomb

( Chemist, Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1976.)

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Biography William Lipscomb
Lipscomb, William (Lipscomb, William) (p. 1919) (USA). Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1976.

Born December 9, 1919 in Cleveland (pc. Ohio) in the family of William Nunn Lipscomb, and Edna Paterson Porter. A year later the family moved to Lexington (pc. Kentucky). After completing secondary school Lipscomb entered the Kentucky University and in 1941 received a bachelor's degree Chemistry. That same fall he began his studies in physics in graduate school at Caltech. Under the influence of the Nobel laureate Pauling L. Lipscomb a year turned to physical chemistry, and Pauling became his supervisor.

In 1942-1945 Lipscomb spent working for the Office of Research and Development United States, related to military needs

. Returning in 1945 with the California Institute of Technology, . next year he defended his thesis on the X-ray crystallography and diffraction of electrons in organic compounds, . after which he became an assistant (in physical chemistry) University of Minnesota, . 1950 - Adjunct Professor, . and in 1954 - full professor,
. In 1959, Lipscomb became a professor at Harvard University, and from 1962 to 1965 he headed the Department of Chemistry. There he continues to work

. Lipscomb so defined his task: 'My original intention in the late 40-ies was that, . 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 in the lack of electrons,
. The first connection of the number is not found in nature boranes, known as boranes, have been synthesized by German chemist Alfred rod (1876-1946) as early as 1912. The structure of boranes remained unknown, but their empirical formulas gave reason to assume the existence of unusual chemical bonds in their molecules.

To solve this problem ought to study the properties of boranes. Chemistry of boranes was considered an extremely complex area, as borani extremely volatile, unstable and even explosive. Lipscomb has developed a new technology for the study of these compounds by X-ray diffraction in high vacuum at low temperature. As a result of experiments he was able to describe their structure in the form of kletkopodobnyh polyhedra.

He wanted to solve the problem of the structure of boranes and theoretically. The difficulty lay in the fact that the boron atoms of the electrons is not enough to separate them from interacting hydrogen atoms. In work performed with B. Crawford and W. Eberhardt X. In 1953, a message which appeared in the following year in the 'Journal of Chemical Physics', he speculated that the lack of electrons is only a seeming. Some of the atoms in the molecules of boranes do not participate in conventional two-center covalent bonds, and three-center, which combines a pair of electrons 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 - later the author wrote this article - previously 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 companies'.

The concept of three-center bonds turned out to be not only correct, but also became the key to the new topological theory of the formation of chemical bonds in boranes. Moreover, Lipscomb 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. R. Grimes in the journal 'Science' has suggested that carboranes have a profound impact on the future of organic synthesis since that 'revolution' in the perception of the covalent bond, which caused work on the chemistry of boranes Lipscomb.

In 1976, Lipscomb was awarded the Nobel Prize 'for the study of the structure of boranes, clarifying the problem of chemical bonds'. Regarding the award of the prize, he replied thus: 'I know that he wrote many good articles on boranes, but had never been convinced that they are reading'.

After the transition in 1959 at Harvard University, his attention shifted to the area of biochemical problems. He became interested in the structure of complex proteins as a means of studying their functions in the human body. His innovative approach was a combination of diffraction of X-rays with computer technology. For example, he carried out a structural analysis of the digestive enzyme carboxypeptidase A, which gave rise to speak on the proposed mechanism of action of this enzyme. He himself considers this his best work study.

He worked and the problem of regulating the enzyme aspartate transkarbamoilazy, which controls the synthesis of amino acids in mammals. This enzyme is crucial for the growth of cells in all living organisms.

Results differ Lipscomb versatility and flexibility of approaches. This is how he says himself: '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. It's all the structure and function '.

Playing the clarinet with almost professional skill ( 'Chamber music - my insatiable passion'), in their scientific articles quoted by Lewis Carroll and is a society of admirers of Sherlock Holmes.


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