William Lipscomb

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William N. Lipscomb, Jr.
Born(1919-12-09)December 9, 1919[1]
DiedApril 14, 2011(2011-04-14) (aged 91)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Kentucky
California Institute of Technology
AwardsNobel Prize in Chemistry (1976)
Scientific career
FieldsNuclear magnetic resonance
Theoretical chemistry
Boron chemistry
InstitutionsUniversity of Minnesota
Harvard University
Doctoral advisorLinus Pauling
Doctoral studentsRoald Hoffmann
Russell M. Pitzer
Thomas A. Steitz
Donald Voet
Don C. Wiley
Other notable studentsMichael Rossmann
Raymond C. Stevens

William Nunn Lipscomb, Jr. (December 9, 1919– April 14, 2011)[2] was a Nobel Prize-winning American inorganic and organic chemist. He worked in nuclear magnetic resonance, theoretical chemistry, boron chemistry, and biochemistry.

Lipscomb was born in Cleveland, Ohio. His family moved to Lexington, Kentucky in 1920.[1]He lived there until he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at the University of Kentucky in 1941. Then he earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1946.

From 1946 to 1959, he taught at the University of Minnesota. From 1959 to 1990, he was a professor of chemistry at Harvard University. After 1990, he became a professor emeritus at Harvard.

Lipscomb went to live in Cambridge, Massachusetts until his death in 2011 from pneumonia.[3]

Lipscomb was one of the first people to use nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to study chemical structures. He learned out how to look at NMR data to find what atoms are connected together in a molecule. This is called "chemical shift".[4]

Lipscomb studied molecules. These molecules included boron atoms.[5] Lipscomb used this work to learn basic ideas about how atoms form chemical bonds. Lipscomb and his students created many important ideas in the field of theoretical chemistry. His work on boron compounds won a Nobel Prize in 1976. Three of his students went on to also win separate Nobel Prizes in Chemistry.

Lipscomb's later research was on the atomic structure of proteins. He studied how enzymes work. His group used x-ray diffraction to measure the three-dimensional structure of these proteins. He calculated the exact location of every single atom in these large molecules. Lipscomb then studied these details to learn how the molecules work in biological systems.

carboxypeptidase A
carboxypeptidase A

Carboxypeptidase A [6] was the first protein structure from Lipscomb's group.

Awards and Honors[change | change source]

Five books and published collections of writings are dedicated to Lipscomb.[11][12][13][14][15]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Nobelprize.org
  2. William N. Lipscomb Jr., Nobel Prize-Winning Chemist, Dies at 91 New York Times April 15, 2011
  3. Kauffman, George B.; Adloff, Jean-Pierre (19 July 2011). "William Nunn Lipscomb, Jr. (1919–2011), Nobel Laureate and Borane Chemistry Pioneer: An Obituary-Tribute" (PDF). The Chemical Educator. 16: 195–201. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 March 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  4. Lipscomb WN, The chemical shift and other second-order magnetic and electric properties of small molecules. Advances in Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. Edited by J. Waugh, Vol. 2 (Academic Press, 1966), pp. 137-176
  5. Lipscomb WN. Boron Hydrides, W. A. Benjamin Inc., New York, 1963 (Calculation methods are in Chapter 3).
  6. Lipscomb WN, Hartsuck JA, Reeke GN, Jr, Quiocho FA, Bethge PH, Ludwig ML, Steitz TA, Muirhead H, Coppola JC. The structure of carboxypeptidase A. VII. The 2.0-angstrom resolution studies of the enzyme and of its complex with glycyltyrosine, and mechanistic deductions. Brookhaven Symp Biol. 1968 Jun;21(1):24–90.
  7. "All Fellows: L". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  8. "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter L" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  9. "Lipscomb, William N." National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  10. "W.N. Lipscomb". Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  11. Electron Deficient Boron and Carbon Clusters, Eds: G.A. Olah, K. Wade, and R.E. Williams. An outgrowth of the Jan. 1989 research symposium at the Loker Hydrocarbon Research Institute on Electron Deficient Clusters. Wiley – Interscience, New York, 1989. (Dedication to "The Colonel" by F. Albert Cotton, 3 pp.)
  12. Proceedings of the International Symposium on Quantum Chemistry, Solid-State Theory and Molecular Dynamics, International Journal of Quantum Chemistry, Quantum Chemistry Symposium No. 25, St. Augustine, FL, March 9–16 (1991). Ed. P.O. Lowdin, Special Eds. N.Y. Orhn, J.R. Sabin, and M.C. Zemer. Published by John Wiley and Sons. 1991.
  13. Structures and Mechanisms: From Ashes to Enzymes (Acs Symposium Series) Gareth R. Eaton (Editor), Don C. Wiley (Editor), Oleg Jardetzky (Editor), .American Chemical Society, Washington, DC, 2002 ("Process of Discovery (1977); An Autobiographical Sketch" by William Lipscomb, 14 pp. (Lipscombite: p. xvii), and Chapter 1: "The Landscape and the Horizon. An Introduction to the Science of William N. Lipscomb", by Gareth Eaton, 16 pp.) These chapters are online at pubs.acs.org. Click PDF symbols at right.
  14. Boron Science: New Technologies and Applications. Narayan Hosmane (Editor), CRC Press, 878 pp. Sept, 26, 2011. (CRC Press[1] Archived 2012-10-15 at the Wayback Machine) (Amazon[2])
  15. The Selected Papers of William N Lipscomb Jr.: A Legacy in Structure-Function Relationships. Jainpeng Ma (Editor), Imperial College Press. 400 pp. approx. Winter 2012. (I. C. Press[3] Archived 2012-04-15 at the Wayback Machine) (Amazon[4])

Other websites[change | change source]