Alexander R. Todd, Baron Todd
2 October 1907|
|Died||10 January 1997
University of Edinburgh
University of London
University of Manchester
University of Cambridge
Christ's College, Cambridge
University of Strathclyde
|Alma mater||University of Glasgow
University of Frankfurt am Main
University of Oxford
|Doctoral advisor||Walter Borsche, Sir Robert Robinson|
|Notable awards||Davy Medal (1949)
Royal Medal (1955)
Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1957)
Copley Medal (1970)
Lomonosov Gold Medal (1978)
Alexander Robertus Todd, Baron Todd, OM, PRS FRSE (2 October 1907 – 10 January 1997) was a British biochemist whose research on the structure and synthesis of nucleotides, nucleosides, and nucleotide coenzymes gained him the Nobel Prize for Chemistry.
Early life and education
Todd was born near Glasgow, attended Allan Glen's School and graduated from the University of Glasgow with a B.Sc. in 1928. He received a Ph.D (Dr.phil.nat.) from Johann Wolfgang Goethe University of Frankfurt am Main in 1931 for his thesis on the chemistry of the bile acids.
After graduating from the University of Oxford, Todd held posts with the Lister Institute, the University of Edinburgh (staff, 1934–1936) and the University of London, where he was appointed Reader in Biochemistry.
Todd became the Sir Samuel Hall Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Chemical Laboratories of the University of Manchester in 1938, where he began working on nucleosides, compounds that form the structural units of nucleic acids (DNA and RNA).
In 1944, he was appointed to the 1702 Chair of Chemistry in the University of Cambridge, which he held until his retirement in 1971. In 1949, he synthesized adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD).
In 1955, he elucidated the structure of vitamin B12, later working on the structure and synthesis of vitamin B1 and vitamin E, the anthocyanins (the pigments of flowers and fruits) from insects (aphids, beetles) and studied alkaloids found in hashish and marijuana. He served as chairman of the Government of the United Kingdom's advisory committee on scientific policy from 1952 to 1964.
He was elected a Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge in 1944 and was Master from 1963 to 1978. He became Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde in 1975, and a visiting professor at Hatfield Polytechnic (1978–1986). Among his many honours, including over 40 honorary degrees, he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1942, was President of the Royal Society from 1975 to 1980 and became a member of the Order of Merit in 1977.
Todd died in 1997 after a heart attack.
Lord Todd was married to Alison Sarah, daughter of Nobel Prize winner Sir Henry Dale, and had a son, Alexander Henry, and two daughters, Helen Jean and Hilary Alison.
- Todd, Alexander (1983), A time to remember: the autobiography of a chemist, Cambridge University Press
- Brown, D. M.; Kornberg, H. (2000). "Alexander Robertus Todd, O.M., Baron Todd of Trumpington. 2 October 1907 -- 10 January 1997: Elected F.R.S. 1942". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society 46: 515. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1999.0099.
- 1851 Royal Commission Archives
- Archer, Mary D.; Haley, Christopher D. (2005), The 1702 chair of chemistry at Cambridge: transformation and change, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-82873-2, Chapter 9: Alexander Todd, p 233
- Reynolds, David (2005), Christ's: A Cambridge College Over Five Centuries, Macmillan, ISBN 0-333-98988-0: "The Era of Todd, Plumb and Snow", by Sir David Cannadine.
- Obituary in the Independent
- Obituary in the New York Times
- Nobel Foundation biography
- Synthesis in the Study of Nucleotides, Todd's Nobel lecture
- Interviews with Nobel Prize winning scientists: Lord Alexander Todd, British Broadcasting Corporation, c. 1985. Video of an interviewed with Lewis Wolpert. Duration 37 minutes.
|Professor of Organic Chemistry, Cambridge University
|Master of Christ's College, Cambridge
Sir Jack Plumb