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Chargaff, Erwin

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Born: 1905 AD
Died: 2002 AD, at 96 years of age.

Nationality: Austrian
Categories: Biochemist

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1905 - Chargaff was born on August 11th in Czernowitz, a provincial capital of the Austro-Hungarian empire (now in Ukraine).

1928 - He studied chemistry at the University of Vienna, where he obtained his PhD, and then spent two years at Yale, studying the tuberculosis bacterium and devising methods of isolating some of the unusual fatty molecules it contained.

1930-1933 - At Berlin University, he extended his research into bacterial lipids; he spent two years at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.

1935 - He settled at Columbia University, New York, where, initially, he worked on plant chromoproteins.

1944 - Chargaff read the Nobel prize-winning research of Oswald Avery, who had identified DNA as the hereditary material.

1950 - Erwin Chargaff analysed the base composition of DNA composition in a number of organisms.

         - He reported that DNA composition varies from one species to another. Such evidence of molecular diversity, which had been presumed absent from DNA, made DNA a more credible candidate for the genetic material than protein.

1952-1978 - A professor, he retired to emeritus status, though his time at Columbia did not end happily. He was locked out of his office and exiled to a distant building.

1978 - His autobiography Heraclitean Fire was  published by Rockefeller University Press.

2002 - Died on June 20th.

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Page last updated: 1:00am, 15th Jun '07