Collection of reprints of research papers by Nobel Laureate Professor George Wald

Catalogue Number: 2698
Collection of reprints of research papers by Nobel Laureate Professor George Wald
Category: Papers
Sub-Category: Published articles
Author: WALD George
Year Of Publication/Manufacture: 1951, 1957 and 1960,
Time Period: 1940 to 1999
Description Of Item: Four reprints of research papers authored by George Wald, including one signed by Wald. The papers are The distribution and evolution of visual system Comp Biochem 1960; 1: 311-345 with hand-written 'With all best wishes / George Wald ' on the cover; The photochemical basis of rod vision, J Opt Soc Amer 1951; 41: 949-956; The visual system of the alligator J Gen Physiol 1957; 40: 703-713, (co-authors Brown PK, Kennedy D); and The metamorphosis of visual systems in the sea lamprey J Gen Physiol 1957; 40: 901-914.
Historical Significance: George Wald (1906 - 1997) was an American scientist who is best known for his work with pigments in the retina. He won a share of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Haldan Keffer Hartline and Ragnar Granit. During his PhD studies he was a student and research assistant of Professor Selig Hecht. Dr. Wald spent his academic career at Harvard University beginning in 1934 as a tutor in Biochemical Sciences, as Instructor and tutor in Biology (1935-1939); Faculty Instructor (1939-1944); Associate Professor (1944-1948); and Professor of Biology (since 1948). As a postdoctoral researcher, Wald discovered that vitamin A was a component of the retina. His further experiments showed that when the pigment rhodopsin was exposed to light, it yielded the protein opsin and a compound containing vitamin A. This suggested that vitamin A was essential in retinal function. In the 1950s, Wald and his colleagues used chemical methods to extract pigments from the retina. Then, using a spectrophotometer, they were able to measure the light absorbance of the pigments. Since the absorbance of light by retina pigments corresponds to the wavelengths that best activate photoreceptor cells, this experiment showed the wavelengths that the eye could best detect. However, since rod cells make up most of the retina, what Wald and his colleagues were specifically measuring was the absorbance of rhodopsin, the main photopigment in rods. Later, with a technique called microspectrophotometry, he was able (almost simultanteously with other research groups) to measure the absorbance directly from cells, rather than from an extract of the pigments. This allowed Wald to determine the absorbance of pigments in the cone cells
How Acquired: Donated by Professor Robert Augusteyn, former Director of the NVRI
Date Acquired: Sept 2015
Condition: Good
Location: Archive office. Pamphlet and ephemera filing cabinet. Drawer 6

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