David Mervyn Blow

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David Mervyn Blow
Born (1931-06-27)27 June 1931
Birmingham, England
Died 8 June 2004(2004-06-08) (aged 72)
Appledore, North Devon, England
Nationality British
Fields Biophysicist
Institutions Imperial College London
Alma mater Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
Doctoral advisor Max Perutz[1]
Other academic advisors Alexander Rich[1]
Doctoral students Richard Henderson
Paul Sigler[1]
Other notable students Thomas A. Steitz
Brian Matthews[1]
Known for Haemoglobin
X-ray crystallography
Notable awards FRS[2]

David Mervyn Blow FRS[2] (27 June 1931 – 8 June 2004) was an influential British biophysicist. He was best known for the development of X-ray crystallography, a technique used to determine the molecular structures of tens of thousands of biological molecules. This has been extremely important to the pharmaceutical industry.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Blow was born in Birmingham, England. As a youth, he attended Kingswood School in Bath, England, where he won a scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.


Following graduation from Cambridge, Blow spent two years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

In 1954, he met Max Perutz;[4] they began to study a new technique wherein X-rays would be passed through a protein sample. This eventually led to the creation of a three-dimensional structure of haemoglobin.

Blow was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1972.

Blow became professor of biophysics at Imperial College London in 1977.

Personal life[edit]

Blow married Mavis Sears in 1955, and they had two children.

Blow died of lung cancer at the age of 72, in Appledore, England.


  1. ^ a b c d "Blow on AcademicTree.org". 
  2. ^ a b Henderson, R.; Franks, N. P. (2009). "David Mervyn Blow. 27 June 1931 -- 8 June 2004". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 55: 13. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2008.0022. 
  3. ^ Vrielink, A. (2005). "David Mervyn Blow". Physics Today. 58 (3): 88–81. Bibcode:2005PhT....58c..88V. doi:10.1063/1.1897573. 
  4. ^ Blow, D. M. (2004). "Max Ferdinand Perutz OM CH CBE. 19 May 1914 - 6 February 2002: Elected F.R.S. 1954". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 50: 227–256. JSTOR 4140521. PMID 15768489. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2004.0016. 

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