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Interview with Henry Borsook

Borsook, Henry (1981) Interview with Henry Borsook. [Oral History] (Unpublished)

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Interview in 1978 with biochemist Henry Borsook, who joined Caltech's newly created Biology Division in 1929 and retired from Caltech in 1968, moving his laboratory to U.C. Berkeley. Professor Borsook's major contributions were made in the areas of protein synthesis and nutrition. He recalls Robert A. Millikan's interest in establishing biology at Caltech and the early days of the Biology Division under Thomas Hunt Morgan; Caltech's intellectual life in the 1930s; the establishment of a Health Center at the Institute; his relations with Linus Pauling. In the 1930s, Borsook began applying thermodynamics to the study of biological phenomena, working with bacteria and studying the production of urine and creatine. He discusses his later work on vitamins and his wartime service on the Food and Nutrition Board, including the formation of the Recommended Daily Allowances and the Dept. of Agriculture's opposition to the RDAs in favor of Minimum Daily Requirements. In the 1940s he developed a soybean-based Multipurpose Food (MPF) and in 1946, with restaurateur Clifford Clinton, founded Meals for Millions, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating world hunger with MPF. Recalls advent of George Beadle as division chairman in 1946 and subsequent changes in the Biology Division. Recalls his postwar work on protein synthesis with isotopes from the Atomic Energy Commission, and his work on hemoglobin and erythropoietin. Discusses his difficulties during the McCarthy era and his work on heart disease.

Item Type:Oral History
Keywords:Biology, biochemistry
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Borsook_H
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:All Records
Subjects > Chemistry
Subjects > Biology
ID Code:24
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:05 Nov 2002
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:23

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