Frederick Gowland Hopkins

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Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins

Frederick Gowland Hopkins nobel.jpg
Born(1861-06-20)20 June 1861
Eastbourne, Sussex, England, United Kingdom
Died16 May 1947(1947-05-16) (aged 85)
Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
Education City of London School
Alma mater King's College London
Guy's Hospital
Known for Vitamins, tryptophan, glutathione
Scientific career
Fields Biochemistry
Institutions University of Cambridge
Academic advisors Thomas Stevenson
Doctoral students Judah Hirsch Quastel
Malcolm Dixon
Other notable students J.B.S. Haldane
Albert Szent-Györgyi [2]

Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins OM , PRS [3] (20 June 1861 – 16 May 1947) was an English biochemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1929, with Christiaan Eijkman, for the discovery of vitamins, even though Casimir Funk, a Polish biochemist, is widely credited with discovering vitamins. He also discovered the amino acid tryptophan, in 1901. He was President of the Royal Society from 1930 to 1935. [4]

Biochemist Scientist specialized in biochemistry

Biochemists are scientists that are trained in biochemistry.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine One of five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, administered by the Nobel Foundation, is awarded yearly for outstanding discoveries in the fields of life sciences and medicine. It is one of five Nobel Prizes established in his will in 1895 by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite. Nobel was interested in experimental physiology and wanted to establish a prize for scientific progress through laboratory discoveries. The Nobel Prize is presented at an annual ceremony on 10 December, the anniversary of Nobel's death, along with a diploma and a certificate for the monetary award. The front side of the medal displays the same profile of Alfred Nobel depicted on the medals for Physics, Chemistry, and Literature. The reverse side is unique to this medal. The most recent Nobel prize was announced by Karolinska Institute on 1 October 2018, and has been awarded to American James P. Allison and Japanese Tasuku Honjo – for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.

Christiaan Eijkman Dutch physician

Christiaan Eijkman was a Dutch physician and professor of physiology whose demonstration that beriberi is caused by poor diet led to the discovery of antineuritic vitamins (thiamine). Together with Sir Frederick Hopkins, he received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1929 for the discovery of vitamins.


Education and early life

Hopkins was born in Eastbourne, Sussex, and educated at the City of London School completing his further study with the University of London External Programme and the medical school at Guy's Hospital which is now part of King's College London School of Medicine. [5]

Eastbourne Town and Borough in England

Eastbourne is a town, seaside resort and borough in the non-metropolitan county of East Sussex on the south coast of England, 19 miles (31 km) east of Brighton. Eastbourne is immediately to the east of Beachy Head, the highest chalk sea cliff in Great Britain and part of the larger Eastbourne Downland Estate.

City of London School school in the City of London, England

The City of London School, also known as CLS and City, is an independent day school for boys in the City of London, England, on the banks of the River Thames next to the Millennium Bridge, opposite Tate Modern. It is a partner school of the City of London School for Girls and the City of London Freemen's School. All three schools receive funding from the City's Cash. It is a member of the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference (HMC).

Guys Hospital Hospital in London

Guy's Hospital is an NHS hospital in the borough of Southwark in central London. It is part of Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and one of the institutions that comprise the King's Health Partners, an academic health science centre.

Career and research

After graduating, Hopkins then taught physiology and toxicology at Guy's Hospital from 1894 to 1898. In 1898, while attending a meeting of the Physiological Society, he was invited by Sir Michael Foster to join the Physiological Laboratory in Cambridge to investigate the chemical aspects of physiology. Biochemistry was not, at that time, recognised as a separate branch of science. He was a lecturer in chemical physiology at Emmanuel College in March 1900, when he received the academic rank Master of Arts (MA) honoris causa. [6] He earned a doctorate in physiology (D.Sc) from the University of London in July 1902, [7] and at the same time was given a readership in biochemistry at Trinity College. [8] . While at Cambridge he was initiated into Freemasonry [9] . In 1910 he became a Fellow of Trinity College, and an Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College. In 1914 he was elected to the Chair of Biochemistry at Cambridge University, thus becoming the first Professor in that discipline at Cambridge. [10] His Cambridge students included neurochemistry pioneer Judah Hirsch Quastel and pioneer embryologist Joseph Needham.

Biochemistry study of chemical processes in living organisms

Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes within and relating to living organisms. Biochemical processes give rise to the complexity of life.

Emmanuel College, Cambridge college of the University of Cambridge

Emmanuel College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. The college was founded in 1584 by Sir Walter Mildmay, Chancellor of the Exchequer to Elizabeth I.

University of London federal public university in London, United Kingdom

The University of London is a collegiate federal research university located in London, England. As of October 2018, the university contains 18 member institutions, central academic bodies and research institutes. The university has over 52,000 distance learning external students and 161,270 campus-based internal students, making it the largest university by number of students in the United Kingdom.

Hopkins had for a long time studied how cells obtain energy via a complex metabolic process of oxidation and reduction reactions. His study in 1907 with Sir Walter Morley Fletcher of the connection between lactic acid and muscle contraction was one of the central achievements of his work on the biochemistry of the cell. He and Fletcher showed that oxygen depletion causes an accumulation of lactic acid in the muscle. Their work paved the way for the later discovery by Archibald Hill and Otto Fritz Meyerhof that a carbohydrate metabolic cycle supplies the energy used for muscle contraction.

Archibald Hill English physiologist and biophysicist

Archibald Vivian Hill, known as A. V. Hill, was an English physiologist, one of the founders of the diverse disciplines of biophysics and operations research. He shared the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his elucidation of the production of heat and mechanical work in muscles.

Otto Fritz Meyerhof German biochemist

Otto Fritz Meyerhof was a German physician and biochemist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1922.

In 1912 Hopkins published the work for which he is best known, demonstrating in a series of animal feeding experiments that diets consisting of pure proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and water fail to support animal growth. This led him to suggest the existence in normal diets of tiny quantities of as yet unidentified substances that are essential for animal growth and survival. These hypothetical substances he called "accessory food factors", later renamed vitamins. [11] It was this work that led his being awarded (together with Christiaan Eijkman) the 1929 Nobel Prize in Physiology for Medicine.

During World War I, Hopkins continued his work on the nutritional value of vitamins. His efforts were especially valuable in a time of food shortages and rationing. He agreed to study the nutritional value of margarine and found that it was, as suspected, inferior to butter because it lacked the vitamins A and D. As a result of his work, vitamin-enriched margarine was introduced in 1926.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Hopkins is credited with the discovery and characterisation in 1921 of glutathione extracted from various animal tissues. [12] At the time he proposed that the compound was a dipeptide of glutamic acid and cysteine. The structure was controversial for many years but in 1929 he concluded that it was a tripeptide of glutamic acid, cysteine and glycine. [13] This conclusion agreed with that from the independent work of Edward Calvin Kendall. [14]

Awards and honours

Hopkins was elected a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) in 1924. [1] During his life, in addition to the Nobel Prize, Hopkins was awarded the Royal Medal of the Royal Society in 1918 and the Copley Medal of the Royal Society in 1926. Other significant honours were his election in 1905 as a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS), Great Britain's most prestigious scientific organisation; his knighthood by King George V in 1925; and the award in 1935 of the Order of Merit, Great Britain's most exclusive civilian honour. From 1930 -1935 he served as president of the Royal Society and in 1933 served as President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

Personal life

In 1898 he married Jessie Anne Stephens (1861–1937); they had one son and two daughters, one of whom, Jacquetta Hawkes, became a prominent archeologist. [15]

He died on 16 May 1947 in Cambridge and is buried at the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge, with wife Lady Jessie Ann Hopkins. [16] [17]

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Gowland may refer to:

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  2. Szent-Györgyi, Albert (1929). Observations on the functions of peroxidase systems and the chemistry of the adrenal cortex. (PhD thesis). University of Cambridge. OCLC   1063377732. EThOS
  3. Dale, Henry Hallett (1948). "Frederick Gowland Hopkins. 1861–1947". Obituary Notices of Fellows of the Royal Society . 6 (17): 115–126. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1948.0022.
  4. Online catalogue of Hopkins' personal and working papers (part of the Manuscript collections held at Cambridge University Library)
  5. Needham, J. (1962). "Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins, O.M., F.R.S. (1861–1947)". Notes and Records of the Royal Society. 17 (2): 117–126. doi:10.1098/rsnr.1962.0014.
  6. "University intelligence". The Times (36081). London. 5 March 1900. p. 11.
  7. "University intelligence". The Times (36829). London. 25 July 1902. p. 5.
  8. "University intelligence". The Times (36783). London. 2 June 1902. p. 9.
  10. "Hopkins, Frederick Gowland (HPKS900FG)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  11. Hopkins, F. G. (1912). "Feeding experiments illustrating the importance of accessory factors in normal dietaries". The Journal of Physiology. 44 (5–6): 425–460. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1912.sp001524. PMC   1512834 . PMID   16993143.
  12. Simoni, R. D.; Hill, R. L.; Vaughan, M. (2002). "On glutathione. II. A thermostable oxidation-reduction system (Hopkins, F. G., and Dixon, M. (1922) J. Biol. Chem. 54, 527–563)". The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 277 (24): e13. PMID   12055201.
  13. Hopkins, Frederick Gowland (1929). "On Glutathione: A Reinvestigation" (PDF). J. Biol. Chem. 84: 269–320.
  14. Kendall, Edward C.; McKenzie, Bernard F.; Mason, Harold L. (1929). "A Study of Glutathione. I. Its Preparation in Crystalline Form and its Identification". J. Biol. Chem. 84: 657–674.
  15. Cooke, Rachel (2013). Her Brilliant Career - Ten Extraordinary Women of the 1950's. Great Britain: Virago. pp. 219–257. ISBN   9781844087419.
  16. A Guide to Churchill College, Cambridge: text by Dr. Mark Goldie, pages 62 and 63 (2009)
  17. Trinity College Chapel