Feb. 18, 1948
Dr. Robert B. Corey
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena 4, California
I am glad to have your letter, and to learn how you are getting along.
Has there been anything done about cooperation with Palmer? I am beginning to feel a bit uncomfortable about the English competition.
They have a gift for driving straight at the heart of a problem, and getting its solution by hook or crook.
I enclose a copy of a letter to Carl Niemann, about an address that Chibnall gave here last night. They have not succeeded
in crystallizing the quarter-molecules, with molecular weight 2,500 or 3,500, but they may succeed, and if they so they will
[sic] the crystals to Mrs. Hodgkin. I think that the whole problem is so important that it would be worthwhile to tackle it
independently in Pasadena, and see what progress we could make. Would you talk with Carl, and consider the question of how
much effort should be put into an immediate attack along pretty much the same lines as those used by Chibnall. You know that
the matter of crystallization of a new compound depends so much on chance that, despite the head start that Chibnall has,
we might well succeed in obtaining the first crystals. Moreover, the structure determination of peptides with 26 or thereabout
amino residues is such a difficult job that I think we could consider it the next step on the journey toward the complete
solution of the crystal structure of a protein, a step that sooner or later we shall have to take.
Dr. Corey Feb. 18, 1948
My proposal is that Carl have a man or two begin work at once on the degradation of insulin, and that as fast as reasonably
pure materials are made they be turned over to you, for crystallization and x-ray investigation.
The progress that has been made seems to me to be truly astounding. I judge that paper chromatography has been very largely
responsible for it.
I am continuing to get along very well—perhaps being kept a little too busy, with so many extra lectures to deliver. However,
I feel that when there is so much interest in what I have to say it is proper that I make the effort to say it.