John Kendrew

About John Kendrew

Who is it?: Biochemist and Crystallographer
Birth Day: March 24, 1917
Birth Place: Oxford, United Kingdom, British
Education: Clifton College
Alma mater: University of Cambridge
Known for: Heme-containing proteins
Awards: Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1962) EMBO Member (1964) Royal Medal (1965)
Fields: Crystallography
Institutions: Peterhouse, Cambridge Royal Air Force
Thesis: X-ray studies of certain crystalline proteins : the crystal structure of foetal and adult sheep haemoglobins and of horse myoglobin (1949)
Academic advisors: Max Perutz
Doctoral students: Hugh Huxley Lubert Stryer
Other notable students: James D. Watson (postdoc)

John Kendrew

John Kendrew was born on March 24, 1917 in Oxford, United Kingdom, British, is Biochemist and Crystallographer. Sir John Cowdery Kendrew was an English biochemist and crystallographer who, along with Max Peutz, was one of the co-recipients of the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. The duo won the award for their studies of the structure of globular proteins. Born into an educated and cultured family in Oxford, John Kendrew graduated IN chemistry from Trinity College in the year World War II broke out. Subsequently, he spent the war years with the Royal Air Force as honorary Wing Commander. Afterwards, he joined the Cavendish Laboratory and there he began to work on hemoglobin with Max Ferdinand Perutz. Later his interest shifted to myoglobin and after years of intense research he was able to devise its complete structure, for which he later received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Apart from an outstanding researcher, Kendrew was also an excellent administrator and held many important positions simultaneously. While he was still graduate student, he helped to establish Medical Research Council Unit at the Cavendish Laboratory and held important positions there. Much later, he became the founder member of European Molecular Biology Organization and founded and ran its laboratory at Heidelberg. For many years, he also acted as the editor-in-chief at the Journal of Molecular Biology. He was also a thorough gentleman and was much revered by the scientific fraternity.
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Does John Kendrew Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, John Kendrew has been died on 23 August 1997(1997-08-23) (aged 80)\nCambridge, Cambridgeshire, England.

🎂 John Kendrew - Age, Bio, Faces and Birthday

When John Kendrew die, John Kendrew was 80 years old.

Popular As John Kendrew
Occupation Scientists
Age 80 years old
Zodiac Sign Aries
Born March 24, 1917 (Oxford, United Kingdom, British)
Birthday March 24
Town/City Oxford, United Kingdom, British
Nationality British

🌙 Zodiac

John Kendrew’s zodiac sign is Aries. According to astrologers, the presence of Aries always marks the beginning of something energetic and turbulent. They are continuously looking for dynamic, speed and competition, always being the first in everything - from work to social gatherings. Thanks to its ruling planet Mars and the fact it belongs to the element of Fire (just like Leo and Sagittarius), Aries is one of the most active zodiac signs. It is in their nature to take action, sometimes before they think about it well.

🌙 Chinese Zodiac Signs

John Kendrew was born in the Year of the Snake. Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Snake are seductive, gregarious, introverted, generous, charming, good with money, analytical, insecure, jealous, slightly dangerous, smart, they rely on gut feelings, are hard-working and intelligent. Compatible with Rooster or Ox.

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He was born in Oxford, son of Wilford George Kendrew, reader in climatology in the University of Oxford, and Evelyn May Graham Sandburg, art Historian. After prep school at the Dragon School in Oxford, he was educated at Clifton College in Bristol, 1930–1936. He attended Trinity College, Cambridge in 1936, as a Major Scholar, graduating in chemistry in 1939. He spent the early months of World War II doing research on reaction kinetics, and then became a member of the Air Ministry Research Establishment, working on radar. In 1940 he became engaged in operational research at the Royal Air Force headquarters, holding the honorary rank of Wing Commander R.A.F. He was awarded his PhD after the war in 1949.


In 1945 he approached Max Perutz in the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. Joseph Barcroft, a respiratory Physiologist, suggested he might make a comparative protein crystallographic study of adult and fetal sheep hemoglobin, and he started that work.


In 1947 the MRC agreed to make a research unit for the Study of the Molecular Structure of Biological Systems. The original studies were on the structure of sheep hemoglobin, but when this work had progressed as far as was possible using the resources then available, Kendrew embarked on the study of myoglobin, a molecule only a quarter the size of the hemoglobin molecule. His initial source of raw material was horse heart, but the crystals thus obtained were too small for X-ray analysis. Kendrew realized that the oxygen-conserving tissue of diving mammals could offer a better prospect, and a chance encounter led to his acquiring a large chunk of whale meat from Peru. Whale myoglobin did give large crystals with clean X-ray diffraction patterns. However, the Problem still remained insurmountable, until in 1953 Max Perutz discovered that the phase Problem in analysis of the diffraction patterns could be solved by multiple isomorphous replacement — comparison of patterns from several crystals; one from the native protein, and others that had been soaked in solutions of heavy metals and had metal ions introduced in different well-defined positions. An electron density map at 6 angstrom (0.6 nanometre) resolution was obtained by 1957, and by 1959 an atomic model could be built at 2 angstrom (0.2 nm) resolution.


Kendrew shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for chemistry with Max Perutz for determining the first atomic structures of proteins using X-ray crystallography. Their work was done at what is now the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. Kendrew determined the structure of the protein myoglobin, which stores oxygen in muscle cells. On Saturday 20 October 1962 the award of Nobel prizes to John Kendrew and Max Perutz, and to Crick, Watson, and Wilkins was satirised in a short Sketch in the BBC TV programme That Was The Week That Was with the Nobel Prizes being referred to as 'The Alfred Nobel Peace Pools'.


In 1963 Kendrew became one of the founders of the European Molecular Biology Organization; as well, he founded and was for many years editor-in-chief of the Journal of Molecular Biology. He became Fellow of the American Society of Biological Chemists in 1967 and honorary member of the International Academy of Science. In 1974 he succeeded in persuading governments to establish the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg and became its first Director. From 1974 to 1979 he was a Trustee of the British Museum, and from 1974 to 1988 he was successively Secretary General, Vice-President, and President of the International Council of Scientific Unions.


After his retirement from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Kendrew became President of St John's College at Oxford University, a post he held from 1981 to 1987. Kendrew's entry in Who's Who lists ten other important national and international committees on which he served as either member or chairman.


The Kendrew Quadrangle at St John's College in Oxford, officially opened on 16 October 2010, is named after him.

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