Reprinted from SCIENCE, June 24, 1938, Vol. 87, No. 2269, pages 563-566. THE FUTURE OF THE CRELLIN LABORATORY’ By Dr. LINUS PAULING DIRECTOR OF THE GATES AND CRELLIN LABORATORIES OF THE CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY ABOUT twenty years ago, to house the division of field deals with the correlation between chemical struc- chemistry and chemical engineering, which was begin- ture and physiological activity of those substances, ning its rapid expansion under the direction of Pro- manufactured in the body or ingested in foodstuffs, fessor Arthur A. Noyes, there was constructed the which are essential for orderly growth and the main- Gates Chemical Laboratory, the gift of Mr. Charles W. tenance of life, as well as of the many substances which Gates and his brother, Mr. Peter G. Gates. This are useful in the treatment of disease. These various marked the beginning of the period of development physiologically active substances are often extremely of the California Institute of Technology as an ad- complex. Their chemical investigation has been made vanced scientific school. The second unit of the Gates possible only by the development in recent years of Laboratory was built ten years later. In view of the highly refined techniques, permitting the organic chem- personal interests of Professor Noyes, who was the ist to determine the molecular structure of a very leader in the introduction of the new methods of complex substance, even though it may be available physico-chemical research in America forty years ago only in minute amounts. In his attack on a recal- and the founder of the Research Laboratory of Physi- citrant molecule he may find it necessary to strengthen cal Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Teoh- his forces by calling on the physical chemist, who dur- nology, it is not surprising that the men whom he ing the past quarter century has developed powerful gathered about him were primarily interested in the methods of studying the structure of molecules. field of physical chemistry and that it was in this field There are many ways in which chemistry is eon- that their principal contributions to knowledge were tributing to physiology and medicineby the develop- made. ment of new general anesthetics, such as ethylene, vinyl Professor Noyes, however, recognized the great im- ether and cyelopropane, of local anesthetics and of portance of organic chemistry, and especially of that pharmaeeutioals of all kinds, including such substances branch of organic chemistry dealing with substances as sulfanilamide, with its extraordinary efficacy in the which are physiologically active, such as vitamins and treatment of streptococcal infections-and continued hormones ; and he made plans for the development of progress will be made in these fields in the coming the work of the division in this new direction. In my years. Considering the great advances in the study file of letters from Professor Noyes there is one, writ- of vitaminsand hormones since the time a decade ago ten in 1929, which contains a detailed chart of the when the synthesis of not one vitamin had been course on which the division is now embarking, nine achieved, we may predict that success will soon reward years later. the men who are now carrying on the attack on vitamin It was the interest taken in the work in chemistry E and that many important discoveries will be made. at the institute by Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Crellin, leading These substances are complex-containing twenty, to the construction of the Crellin Laboratory, which thirty or forty atoms in the molecule--but not so com- made the initiation of this new program possible. The plex as to make the determination of their structure Rockefeller Foundation, recognizing the need for fos- by existent methods impossible. There is, however, a tering research in America in the border-line field class of substances of the most extreme importance of between chemistry and biology and the suitability of life, the proteins, whose molecules contain thousands the California Institute for this work, then made a or tens of thousands of atoms. The proteins occur large grant of money to support the researches to be everywhere and serve the most varied purposes. The carried on in the Crellin Laboratory during the next class includes such varied substances as pepsin, hemo- six years. globin, albumen, globulin, keratin and insulin. The Organic chemistry was developed into a great science organic chemist has not succeeded in determining the during the nineteenth century, and it seems probable configuration of any protein molecule, and it is doubt- that all or nearly all its fundamental principles have ful that his methods alone can be applied with success, now been formulated. There is, however, a related because the forces which hold the molecule in its char- field of knowledge of transcendent significance to man- acteristic configuration are probably not the primary kind which has barely begun its development. This valence forces with which he is accustomed to deal. 1 Address at the dedication of the C&n Laboratory of Although there has as yet been little indication of a ~~mi;ry at the California Institute of Technology, May method of attack which might be successful, I feel that , * 2 the important steps in the solution of this great prob- of analogues of this substance at the institute, has been lem will be taken during the next ten years, through given appointment as research associate in organic the cooperation of the organic chemist and his col- chemistry ; and Dr. Carl Niemann, of the University leagues in associated sciences. of Wisconsin and the Rockefeller Institute for Medical In the Crellin Laboratory the organic chemists Research, has been appointed assistant professor of occupy the second and third floors and the auxiliary organic chemistry. Dr. Niemann, whose investigations rooms on the roof. Conveniently close, occupying the have dealt with the chemistry of proteins and carbo- first floor, basement and sub-basement, are the physical hydrates, is at present studying at the University of chemists, with their appliances for the study of molecu- London and will take up residence at the Institute in lar structure by the methods of photochemistry, mag- July. netochemistry, spectroscopy and x-ray and electron For the satisfactory completion of the Crellin Labo- diffraction. ratory credit is due to the architects, Mayers, Murray For twenty-five years Professor Howard J. Lucas and Phillip, and their representative Mr. Wayne alone has ably carried the burden of instruction in Soverns, to Professor Robert A. Millikan, Professor organic chemistry at the institute, and he and, more W. B. Munro, chairman of the building committee, recently, Dr. J. B. Koepfli have worked effectively on and Professor R. R. Martel, of that committee, to a research program. During the present year there Professors W. N. Lacey and A. 0. Beckman, who rep- has been increased activity in this field. There was resented the division during the preparation of the given in March and April a series of lectures on the chemistry of vitamins by Dr. Alexander R. Todd, of plans and the construction of the building, to Mr. the Lister Institute for Medical Research in London, William C. Crowell, the contractor, and his able as- who came here as visiting lecturer, and throughout sistants, to Mr. Wesley Hertenstein, supervising engi- the year chemical studies on vitamins and hormones neer, and Mr. L. G. Fenner, superintendent of electri- were carried on in association with Professor F. W. cal construction, and to many others who contributed Went and his colleagues in the division of biology. to the work. To all these men, and especially to Mr. Dr. Edwin R. Buchman, who was associated with R. R. and Mrs. Crellin, I express the thanks of the division Williams in the structural investigation and synthesis of chemistry and chemical engineering, and its promise of vitamin B, and who has been carrying on his studies to make effective use of the new laboratory.