Original Repository: Oregon State University. Library. Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers
Reproduced with permission of the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers. Oregon State University Library.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
The Search for the Molecular Helix
July 29, 1938
I wish to thank you for letting me know about the expected visit of Professor L. Zechmeister to this country. I am writing
to him to find out if he expects to come to the Pacific Coast. Mr. Shaffer's preliminary results on the application of
the chromatographic method to amino acid separation are promising, and we are hoping that we can develop the method satisfactorily
and apply it extensively.
You may be interested to hear about our plans for work during the coming year in the crystal structure field. The complete
structure determination which Dr. Corey has made on diketopiperazine is the first made for any substance closely related to
protein--all of the earlier work on amino acids and such compounds has been incomplete and has led to no definite results
regarding interatomic distances and molecular configurations. Dr. Corey and Mr. Albrecht are just finishing a complete structure
determination of glycine. During the coming year, three able men, Dr. Corey, Dr. E. W. Hughes, and Dr. Henri Levy, are going
to determine accurately the structures of as many amino acids and related substances including some with peptide bonds, as
possible, in order to give us reliable information regarding the stereochemistry of molecules related to the proteins. In
addition we are planning to begin x-ray work on some of the proteins themselves. I feel that the proteins are too complex
to offer great promise that their x-ray investigation will lead to significant results beyond those already obtained by Astbury,
but the protein problem is such an important one that it seems desirable to attack it, in the hope that something worthwhile
will be discovered.
Dr. Niemann will be here in a few days now, and I am looking forward to rapid progress in organic research here after his
arrival. Dr. E. R. Buchman has come to play an important part in the activities of the Chemistry Division, and I feel that
he, too, will be a very valuable man in the development of organic chemistry here.