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Two papers: the connection between fast and slow reactions


Summing up: remembering co-workers and colleagues
Manfred Eigen Scientist
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It started with fast reactions, yes. I mean, I had some problems which I solved before that, but I was really a child still. Now, of course, many co-workers joined me and I really must say now it was always a great pleasure to co-operate with other people, and I never remember that we had a bad atmosphere here, it was always in wonderful way to work together. Many of them became professors there. One of my first students was Gunther Von Bünow, he's now also emeritus already; Gerhard Schwartz, who will be emeritus next year or in a few years; then George Czerlinski, Hartmut Diebler, Kaspar Kirschner, Georg Ilgenfritz and many others. I think you know them.

[Q] Yes, there are some names like Günter Maass, just to mention, and then Eberhard Neumann...

Eberhard Neumann came finally also.

[Q] Friedemann Schneider...

Friedemann Schneider. And many American colleagues and English colleagues... David Hague. And we had Claude Bernasconi who's Swiss, who wrote a book on fast reactions in organic chemistry, and Gordon Hammes, Ken Kustin, Ted Eyring...

[Q] Don Crothers.

Don Crothers, yes, there are many, many... and not only postdocs, many colleagues came and I remember that Al Lehninger spent a year with us, Buzz Baldwin also, he came from the Stanford group. And many colleagues are visiting, like Lars Onsager came for a semester, Peter Debye came as a Gauss Professor to Göttingen, Arthur Kornberg visited, Britton Chance, Hugo Theorell... you remember we played... Hugo was a violinist and his wife, Margit, was a cembalist [harpsichordist], a professional cembalist. And I played four hands with her, and we played trios and quartets and, at the place where you live now, at Schloss Berlepsch, in the Count of Berlepsch and his wife were both also violinists and viola, and we never stopped before four o'clock or five o'clock in the morning, so it was real lively atmosphere, triggered by scientists. Other people came, like Fitzi Lynen, from... famous biochemist of Munich, or Gentner, Fritz Lipmann...

[Q] Max Delbrück...

Max Delbrück yes.

[Q] John Eccles. But there you get into a very long list.

Yes, but if you now review that back then you say what wonderful life that was and what wonderful to work with nice people in a good atmosphere and having interesting questions to discuss.

Nobel Prize winning German biophysical chemist, Manfred Eigen (1927-2019), was best known for his work on fast chemical reactions and his development of ways to accurately measure these reactions down to the nearest billionth of a second. He published over 100 papers with topics ranging from hydrogen bridges of nucleic acids to the storage of information in the central nervous system.

Listeners: Ruthild Winkler-Oswatitch

Ruthild Winkler-Oswatitsch is the eldest daughter of the Austrian physicist Klaus Osatitsch, an internationally renowned expert in gas dynamics, and his wife Hedwig Oswatitsch-Klabinus. She was born in the German university town of Göttingen where her father worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Aerodynamics under Ludwig Prandtl. After World War II she was educated in Stockholm, Sweden, where her father was then a research scientist and lecturer at the Royal Institute of Technology.

In 1961 Ruthild Winkler-Oswatitsch enrolled in Chemistry at the Technical University of Vienna where she received her PhD in 1969 with a dissertation on "Fast complex reactions of alkali ions with biological membrane carriers". The experimental work for her thesis was carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in Göttingen under Manfred Eigen.

From 1971 to the present Ruthild Winkler-Oswatitsch has been working as a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen in the Department of Chemical Kinetics which is headed by Manfred Eigen. Her interest was first focused on an application of relaxation techniques to the study of fast biological reactions. Thereafter, she engaged in theoretical studies on molecular evolution and developed game models for representing the underlying chemical proceses. Together with Manfred Eigen she wrote the widely noted book, "Laws of the Game" (Alfred A. Knopf Inc. 1981 and Princeton University Press, 1993). Her more recent studies were concerned with comparative sequence analysis of nucleic acids in order to find out the age of the genetic code and the time course of the early evolution of life. For the last decade she has been successfully establishing industrial applications in the field of evolutionary biotechnology.

Tags: fast reactions, Gauss Professor, cembalist, harpsichordist, Göttingen, Schloss Berlepsch, Gunther von Bünow, Gerhard Schwartz, George Czerlinski, Hartmut Diebler, Kaspar Kirschner, Georg Ilgenfritz, Günter Maass, Eberhart Neumann, Friedemann W Schneider, David N Hague, Claude Bernasconi, Gordon G Hammes, Kenneth Kustin, Edward M (Ted) Eyring, Donald Crothers, Albert Lester Lehninger, Robert "Buzz" Baldwin, Lars Onsager, Peter Joseph William Debye, Arthur Kornberg, Britton Chance, Axel Hugo Theodor Theorell, Elin Margit Elisabeth Theorell, Feodor “Fitzi” Lynen, GJ Gentner, Fritz Albert Lipmann, Max Ludwig Henning Delbrück, Sir John Carew Eccles

Duration: 3 minutes, 29 seconds

Date story recorded: July 1997

Date story went live: 29 September 2010