Max F. Perutz

" In science, truth always wins."

Max F. Perutz, FRS (1914-2002)

To honor an extraordinary teacher and scientist, the Max F. Perutz Laboratories were named after Max Ferdinand Perutz, who, together with John C. Kendrew, was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies on the structure of globular proteins.

Max Perutz was born in 1914 in Vienna to a family of textile manufacturers who made their fortune during the industrial revolution in the 19th century, through the introduction of mechanical spinning and weaving. He attended the Theresianum, where a perceptive teacher awakened his interest in chemistry. In 1932 he entered the University of Vienna, but because of the poor prospects for a scientific career in Austria he decided in 1936 to move to the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. After Hitler´s invasion of Austria, the family business was expropriated, his parents became refugees and his natural choice was to continue his career in Cambridge.

Perutz and his co-workers managed to determine the structure of hemoglobin in 1959. The work was published in Nature in February 1960, and Perutz was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1962 together with John Kendrew, who had determined the structure of myoglobin.
In addition to his studies, Perutz pioneered the new research field of Molecular Biology and was instrumental in founding the Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK. He was also involved in establishing the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in  Heidelberg, Germany.

Max F. Perutz died in February 2002 in Cambridge.