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The Francis Crick Papers

Letter from A. V. Hill to Francis Crick pdf (121,755 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from A. V. Hill to Francis Crick
The physiologist and Nobel laureate Archibald V. Hill was the first to support Crick's application for a Medical Research Council fellowship in 1947, in the hope that Crick would develop an interest in his own field of research, the biophysics of muscle, and again supported Crick when the latter decided in 1949 to change from the study of the cytoplasm of cells at the Strangeways Laboratory, to the study of protein structure at the Cavendish.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (121,755 Bytes)
1949-03-11 (March 11, 1949)
Hill, A. V.
Crick, Francis
Original Repository: Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
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Reproduced with permission of Philippa Hill.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Cytoplasmic Structures
Exhibit Category:
Biographical Information
Box Number: 2
Folder Number: PP/CRI/A/2/1
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Personal Material
SubSeries: Correspondence
Folder: MRC: Studentship and Employment Correspondence
11th March, 1949.
Dear Crick,
Thank you for letting me know about your decision. I expect you are quite right. If the X-ray diffraction studies of protein are what interest you most, in spite of any deterrent I may have exerted, you can be reasonably sure that your decision is the best one. My memory only comes back very slowly but I seem to remember now, and it may amuse you, that a year or so ago when Perutz asked me about possible people to join him, I mentioned your name. If so, I don't regret it in spite of what I said to you. There is no doubt of the value and importance of the work and I hope that someday it will tie on more closely to the active processes in muscle in which I am interested. If so, it will be a good thing to have someone mixed up with it who does know something about the properties of living material. Too often, the biochemists who work on muscle (usually muscles ground up with sand and extracted!) have little idea about the properties of living functioning muscle. I have tried to persuade Astbury at intervals that living muscles are not quite the same as dried ones; and on the whole he has been fairly teachable. You, with your year or two at biology, will probably be more susceptible.
Astbury agrees that in X-ray studies of living systems much more powerful equipment is necessary in order to allow shorter exposures. Perhaps someday that will be available.
Yours sincerely,
A.V. Hill
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