Richard L. M. Synge

  • From:

    University of East Anglia │ Norwich, United Kingdom

  • Year:

    1959

  • Subject:

    Chemistry

  • Award:

    Wetherill

  • Citation:

    For the development of theories of gas chromatography for the quick and precise analysis of minute quantities of mixtures of chemical components (with A. T. James and Archer J. P. Martin).

Richard Laurence Millington Synge was born in Liverpool, England in 1914. In 1933, he entered Trinity College, University of Cambridge and studied physics, chemistry, physiology, and biochemistry. He received his Ph.D. from Cambridge in 1941. In the same year, he joined the staff of the Wool Industries Research Association at Leeds and in 1943 that of the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine, London. Beginning in 1948, he was Head of the Department of Protein Chemistry at the Rowett Research Institute at Bucksburn, Aberdeen. He became a biochemist at the Food Research Institute, Norwich (1967-76), and was also an honorary professor of biological sciences at the University of East Anglia (1968-84).

Working with A.J.P. Martin, the two collaborated to develop partition chromatography, a technique that is used to separate mixtures of closely related chemicals such as amino acids for identification and further study. Synge used paper chromatography to work out the exact structure of the simple protein molecule gramicidin S, which helped to pave the way for the English biochemist Frederick Sanger's elucidation of the structure of the insulin molecule.

Information as of 1959