Fred Sanger 1918 – 2013

Perhaps the greatest biologist of the twentieth century and two-time Nobel prize winner, Fred Sanger, has died at the age of 95. He won his first Nobel in 1958 for determining the amino acid sequence of insulin and his second in 1980 for developing a method to sequence DNA.  An obituary can be found here.

One thought on “Fred Sanger 1918 – 2013

  1. Interesting. I used Lehninger (sic) text in biochem, so i was thinking maybe he wrote that. (There was also molecular biology—-i think e o wilson calls that field biology, like pharmacology, since they don’t know the lagrangian (though old school quantum biology—eg joyce kauffman at JHU—were looking for ‘biological lagrngians (c J lumsden of toronot, who wrote with trainor and e o wilson, and gave me his book).
    Then i realized i was thinking of Gilbert Strang (similar if stranger letters; there’s also an elizabeth sanger i think of planned parenthood—permutations on a chromosomal theme) of MIT who wrote the linear algebra text i used (quite interesting is the last chapters which we didn’t get to — my reading is you can reduce everything to harmonic oscillators (for related ideas see Y S Kim at U Md (on arxiv eg Kant, Einstein, Tao, etc. and he has a good web page, or for a more possibly ‘wack’ version G Siddarth’s ‘thermodynamic universe’ also on arxiv; this seems to come from stone-weirstrauss/fourier series—‘piece wise linear’). That teacher turned me onto G S Mackey (BAMS 79) —‘harmonic analyses as the exploitation of symmetry’ ( My prof almost flunked me for that since he said class attendence was optional, so i just did (and sometimes aced) the tests but last day he changed his mind. I told my university (dean) you can take your degree i dont want it. But money (tuition ) was involved so i compromised and got branded; no logo- not. as MLK sortuh said, ‘keep your eyes on the price; free at last. no moeny down’!!!) (Mackey’s paper is on the web and covers quite a bit from quantum to number theory to stat mech); a student of L Kauffman (knot theory, U illinois) who is now a prof in her own right told me she also liked and used that book).

    but sanger only won 2 noble prizes, like bardeen (the C of BCS i saw speak a few times, mostly on neural net type stuff; marc kac was the best there—did stuff on classical path integrals) or pauling (had some interesting ideas on quantum biology, not to forget vitamin c). i wonder what he would have thought of ‘missing her (it) ability’ .as for me, i guess i’ll be like blondie (new wave/punk 80’s band) and keep ‘hanging on the telephone’ until i get a call from sweden. i have an answering machine so i never miss a call, girl—-i don’t miss them, who needs them? (i think the swedes don’t believe in top down causality (p davies, g ellis) and hence refuse my crietira, of getting paid in advance (unlike Perelman—ricci flow, poincare —who believed in charity and volunteering, like true capitalists, such as Putains, the valer(/y/)ous gergiev, and a. shleifer (Harvard econ). Even in sweden dissidents exist—eg vaxjo interpretation of quantum theory; see c fuchs on perimeter institute (i think perimeter has to do with pieces of pi , and the well-known fact that ‘a boundary of a boundary is zero’—j s wheeler; since using bitc( )oins you can get with ‘it’.)


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