FRANK LEE PYMAN, D.Sc., F.R.S.
The news of the death on 1 January 1944 of During this period Pyman collaborated with Sir
Dr Frank Lee Pyman, after a prolonged illness, Henry Dale, the late Sir Patrick Laidlaw, Dr F. H.
at the age of 61, has been received with deep Carr, the late Prof. Barger and Dr C. M. Wenyon
regret by his many friends in this and other and many other distinguished scientific workers.
countries. (2) The nine years spent in Manchester widened
Pyman was an original member ofthe Biochemical Pyman's influence, developed his ability as a teacher
Society, and his death removes another member of and lecturer, brought him new colleagues and
that distinguished group of men who have been friends, and produced a large output of scientific
responsible for the development of chemistry- work of the very highest standard.
particularly medicinal chemistry-in this country (3) The fifteen years during which Pyman worked
during the last thirty years and to whom must be at Nottingham brought the influence of a distin-
given the credit for the high respect in which British guished academic scientific worker back to industry
work in this field is held to-day. again, with his intellectual powers fully developed
Pyman was born on 8 April 1882. He acquired and well able to apply the scientific method to the
an early liking for chemistry at Dover College and solution of the problems of industry.
entered Owens College, Manchester, at the age of At the time of his arrival in Nottingham he was
seventeen, gaining a James Gaskell Scholarship. 45 years old; he soon gathered round him a group
He graduated with first class honours in chemistry of research workers capable of following his leader-
in 1902, being placed at the head of the list and ship, and another very productive period followed.
awarded the Mercer Scholarship and the Le Blanc His paper with C. E. Coulthard and J. Marshall
medal. He then went to the Polytechnic at Zurich (J. chem. Soc. 1930, p. 280) on 'The variation of
to study with Bamberger, and for his research work phenol coefficients in homologous series of phenols',
there was awarded the degree of Ph.D. Basle in arose from the work carried out in connexion with
1904. In 1910 he was awarded the degree of D.Sc. the now famous patent action between Sharpe and
by the University of Manchester, and in 1922 (at Dohme Inc. and Boots Pure Drug Company Limited.
the age of 40) he became a Fellow of the Roya.l The experience gained in the course of this case was
Society. He was awarded the Hanbury Medal of of the greatest value to Pyman and to his company
the Pharmaceutical Society in 1936. in the years that followed.
When Pyman returned to England from Zurich Apart from his published work on the amindines,
in 1905 he worked for a short time with T. E. Thorpe amoebicides and derivatives of harmine and har-
at the Government Laboratory, and in 1906 he was maline, Pyman was able to make substantial contri-
appointed to the staff of the Wellcome Chemical butions to knowledge relating to the manufacture
Works, Dartford. He followed Dr F. B. Power as of arsphenamines, insulin, liver extract, saccharin
Director of the Wellcome Chemical Research Labo- and potassium permanganate. When the Horti-
ratory in London in 1914, and in 1919 he became cultural and Veterinary Research Departments of
Professor of Technological Chemistry in the Uni- Boots Pure Drug Company Limited were formed,
versity of Manchester and Director of the Depart. they were placed under Pyman's direction and his
ment of Applied Chemistry in the College of inspiring influence was of the greatest value, par.
Technology. ticularly during their early formative years. He
In 1927 Pyman was appointed Head of the Re- had always been keenly interested in gardening and
search Department of Boots Pure Drug Company had a wide knowledge of horticultural science.
Limited in Nottingham and became a Director of Soon after coming to Nottingham, Pyman inaugu-
the Company in 1929, which appointment he held rated a monthly research conference to which dis-
at the time of his death. tinguished academic workers were invited. His own
Pyman's work falls naturally into three periods: academic background enabled him to realize the
(1) Fourteen very productive years at Burroughs importance of not interfering in any way with the
Wellcome and Company Limited, where he com- complete independence of the academic worker, and
menced his studies on the connexion between this conference functioned very efficiently and
chemical constitution and physiological action. happily under his guidance.
Important papers on tropeines, isoquinoline alka- It was characteristic of Pyman to be diffident
loids, pilocarpine and glyoxaline were published. about expressing an opinion if he thought he was
Biochem. 1944, 38 19
284 OBITUARY NOTICE I944
short of evidence or if he considered the problem to Opera House in Frankfurt, Borlin, Copenhagen,
be unsuitable for solution by the scientific method Stockholm or Paris.
of approach. This attitude of mind gave all the more Pyman was for many years a regular attender at
point to his opinions when he felt inclined to express the Annual Meetings of the Society of Chemical
them. His dignified presence and gift of clear and Industry, The British Medical Association and The
concise expression inspired confidence and enabled British Association, and when these Societies held
him to put his views with great force in all circum- their meetings in Nottingham, he was called upon
stances. to play a leading part in their functions. He did so
Between 1927 and 1939 it was frequently neces- very willingly because he always appreciated the
sary for Pyman to visit not only most of the countries interdependence of academic science and industry.
in Europe but also the United States of America He made friends easily and developed his capacity
and Canada. Wherever he went it was evident that for friendship more and more as he grew older. All
scientists in other countries held him in the same his friends and colleagues will remember gratefully
high regard as his colleagues at home. To be able to the warm hospitality that he and his wife were
travel widely was a source of great satisfaction to always ready to give, and his students and all those
him. He also enjoyed the opportunities it gave him who worked under his guidance wiU cherish the
to indulge his taste for good music. Few things memory of his inspiring leadership.
gave him greater pleasure than an evening at the L. ANDERSON
Notes on the Toxins of Egyptian Scorpions
BY AHMED HASSAN MOHAMMJD, Biochemical Department, Faculty of Medicine,
Fouad I Univer8ity, Cairo
(Received 9 February 1944)
This note records observations on scorpion venoms, pentoxide. The potency of this toxin, measured as
including some details of the unpublished method the minimal lethal dose (M.L.D;) for the rat, was
of Dr & Mrs Hassan for the' purification of the about 25-50/ug./100 g. body weight.
toxins, and an examination of the stability and
absorption spectra of the purified products. PROPERTIES OF PURIFIED
PREPARATION OF PURIFIED TOXINS TOXIN PREPARATIONS
The species of scorpion used were: Buthus quinpe In the sequel, unless otherwise stated, 'toxin' refers
8atriau8, B. leptochelys, B. acute carinatu8, B. hotten- to a purified product prepared in the above manner.
totta minax. Stings and last segmnent of the tails Toxin prepared as described dissolved easily in dis-
(the telsons) of scorpions were detached and dried tilled water to give a clear solution. The following
over calcium chloride. The dried telsons were ground properties of the toxin were observed, using an
in a mortar for about 30 min. with quartz sand, aqueous solution containing 1 mg./ml.: Millon,
wetting with small volumes of 0.1 N-HCI. The finely xanthoproteic and biuret reactions were positive.
ground mass was extracted with 5 x 30 ml. lots of There was no prbcipitation on boiling or half-
0. 1 N-HCI, the liquid being separated by decanta- saturation with ammonium sulphate. (Half-satura-
tion. The combined extracts were neutralized with tion with ammonium sulphate did produce a small
N-NaOH, a sat. aqueous solution of picric acid flocculent precipitate, which was non-toxic, from a
added and the liquid allowed to stand for 24 hr. solution containing 4 mg. toxin/ml.) Toxin was
The supernatant liquid was poured off the precipi- completely precipitated by full saturation with
tate which had formed. This precipitate, containing ammonium sulphate, by absolute ethanol and by
the toxin, was repeatedly extracted with 80 % (v/v) acetone. Picric acid gave a precipitate which dis-
acetone in water, until no more soluble picrate was solved on heating and reappeared on cooling. The
removed.,The toxin was then precipitated as hydro- general behaviour was that of a proteose. Incinera-
chloride by adding a few drops of conc. hydrochloric tion of 20 mg. of dried toxin left no residue.
acid and an excess of acetone to the combined 80 % Ab8orption .pectra of toxins and veno?ni. Absorp-
acetone extracts. The toxic precipitate was centri- tion spectra of toxins purified as described from the
fuged off, washed successively with dry acetone and four species mentioned were examined, and also the
dry ether, and kept in vacuum over phosphorus venom from two of the species (Buthus quinque