The Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology (ACSMB) was formally constituted as an Interdisciplinary Research Centre in the University of Leeds in 1999. The Centre builds on the visions and achievements of outstanding structural biologists, and is named after W.T. (Bill) Astbury, a biophysicist who pioneered the use of X-ray fibre diffraction methods to decipher molecular structure and coined the term ‘molecular biology’ during his long research career at the University of Leeds (1928-1961). Astbury’s work, in turn, followed from the pioneering work of Sir William Bragg who was the Cavendish Professor of Physics in Leeds from 1908-1915.
William Astbury and The Astbury Centre: Past and Present
Links to a series of articles about Astbury and The Astbury Centre:
- History of the Astbury Department of Biophysics and Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology by Prof ACT North.
- The Man in the Monkeynut Coat by Dr. Kersten T. Hall, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds. A history of William Astbury.
- William Astbury and the biological significance of nucleic acids, 1938-19512 by Dr. Kersten T. Hall, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds (Reprinted from Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 42 (2), Kersten Hall, William Astbury and the biological significance of nucleic acids, 1938-1951, 119-128, (2011), with permission from Elsevier).
- The Birth of Crystallography by Philip Ball (originally published in The University of Leeds Alumni magazine and reproduced here with permission).
Sound Archives and Lectures
Recording of a lecture given by Prof William Astbury, FRS, at Wayne University Medical School (1953)
Audio recording made by Prof Laszlo Lorand (Northwestern University, Chicago) and reproduced here with his permission.
A short extract from a lecture by Astbury where he discusses the power of interdisciplinary science.
BBC archive recording ‘Bragg on the Braggs’ (2013) Melvyn Bragg presents a history of X-ray crystallography including a contribution from Astbury Deputy Director Thomas Edwards
Astbury’s Camera A lecture by Kersten Hall as part of the History and Philosophy of Science in 20 objects series by Dr Kersten T. Hall, School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science, University of Leeds.
- The Braggs and Astbury: Leeds and the Beginning of Molecular Biology by Professor ACT North tells the early history of the development of the field.
- Biophysics and Molecular Biology in Leeds after Astbury and the Braggs continues Prof North’s history of the subject in Leeds.
- An obituary of Prof Peter Knowles by Profs Mike McPherson, Anthony North (Leeds), Anthony Watts (Oxford) and Derek Marsh (Gottingen).
- A note on Donald Nicholson, creator of the metabolic map.
- “Life’s Cartographer” (2006) an article published in Chemistry World charting the career of Donald Nicholson, the creator of metabolic maps (Reproduced here with permission from Chemistry World)