A Quartet of Unlikely Discoveries: The Double Helix, the Pill, a Pinch of Salt, Then Saturation
Sylvia Tait (nee Wardropper) was trained as a zoologist and James Tait as a physicist, although they have both become well known endocrinologists. They first collaborated in the discovery of aldosterone (a salt retaining hormone) and then (mainly with the Nobel Prize Winner, Professor T Reichstein) isolated and identified it. They married in 1956 and were elected together to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1959. Aldosterone was found to cause hypertension and heart disease in a significant number of patients. These can often be successfully treated by surgery (if due to an adrenal tumour) or by anti-aldosterone compounds. These events are described in this book with personal histories. discoveries. These were the DNA double helix, oral chemical contraceptives and saturation analysis (or immunoassay). These are described with the emphasis on the interactions of scientists such as R Gosling, M Wilkins and R Franklin; G Pincus, MC Chang and C Djerassi; R Ekins and R Yalow. It is concluded that the common factor in the four discoveries was their unlikely nature in view of the scientists and places involved. This has lessons for research granting committees. killed over Bergen in 1942. She continued to use the name Simpson professionally for some years until she remarried. She herself tragically died a few weeks before the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the discovery and identification of aldosterone in April 2003.
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Subsequent events at Kings College
Contributions of Ray Gosling
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adrenal extract assay Astbury Ayres bioassay biological activity Bush Cambridge chemist Ciba clinical collaboration corticosterone cortisol Courtauld Institute deoxycorticosterone Diczfalusy 1979 discovery Djerassi DNA fibres Dodds effects electrocortin Endocrinol Endocrinology eplerenone form of DNA form pictures Franklin and Gosling Fraser glucocorticoids Gosling and Franklin Gosling and Wilkins helical structure hormone humidity hypertension insulin JF's Judson King's College laboratory later London Maddox mainly mestranol metabolism method MHMS mineralocorticoid Nobel Prize norethindrone norethynodrel obtained oestrogen Olby oral contraceptives paper chromatography patients Physics Department Pincus plasma previously primary aldosteronism probably Professor progesterone progestogen protein Ray Gosling Reichstein Roger Ekins Rosalind Franklin Rosalyn Yalow saturation analysis Sayre scientists Searle Simpson and Tait spironolactone steroids structure of DNA studies synthesis Tait and Tait Tait JF urinary Watson and Crick WFEB Wolpert X-ray crystallography X-ray diffraction X-ray diffraction photographs X-ray diffraction pictures Yalow and Berson zona glomerulosa