Nature 127, 53-54 (10 January 1931) | doi:10.1038/127053b0

Some Applications of Organic Chemistry to Biology and Medicine


THIS volume represents the fifth of a series in which are reproduced the lectures delivered by distinguished visitors invited to Cornell University in accordance with the terms of the George Fisher Baker Foundation. The purpose of this Foundation is to facilitate intercourse between scientific workers of different nationalities. Appropriately, Prof. Barger deals in his introductory lecture with the history of internationalism in science. The belief that scientific research is one of the most international forms of human endeavour, possibly only second to music in this respect, is illustrated by a remarkable range of examples that connects the brotherhoods of the schools of Vesalius, Fabricius, and other great masters of the Italian universities of the sixteenth century with the international contributions that led to the isolation, identification, and synthesis of adrenaline. Many other examples may be derived from the five lectures which follow and which deal with important recent developments in biochemistry. The chemistry of the hormones is presented in an able and comprehensive review, no small part of which is devoted to the fascinating story of the steps by which the constitution and synthesis of thyroxin was achieved. Other lectures deal with the chemistry of the vitamins, chemical constitution and physiological action, chemotherapy, and finally the nature of the curious blue adsorption compounds of iodine. A very interesting and stimulating volume.