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[X-plor] Jerry Karle

Robert Sweet via x-plor%40net.bio.net (by sweet from bnl.gov)
Wed Jun 19 09:54:31 EST 2013

Jerry Karle died a couple of weeks ago, and one of us here learned about 
it by noticing his obituary in the NY Times: 

He's well known to those of us who started in this field when the solving 
of a Patterson function for a heavy atom in a structure was the only way 
we knew to get the structure.  With Herb Hauptman, and in close teamwork 
with his wife Isabella who actually >did< crystallography, he played a 
major role in working out the sort of Direct Methods that allowed one to 
solve ordinary small-molecule structures before the days of high-speed 
computing.  As the obituary points out, Jerry and Herb shared the 1985 
Nobel Prize in Chemistry for this work.  The obit. is worth reading.  I 
suspect you'll see an even better one in Nature soon.

My own tiny personal memory of Jerry Karle:  When I was a grad student at 
the Univ. of Wisc. with Larry Dahl I made a pilgrimage to the NRL to visit 
Jerry and Isabella.  I was trying to use direct methods to solve at least 
one cephalosporin structure, which eventually appeared in my thesis, and 
there was a feature of DM that I failed to understand.  They were very 
patient with me, but couldn't understand what it was I didn't get.  It 
turns out to have been essentially trivial, but that's the way it goes 
sometimes.  Anyway he always recognized me afterwards, or pretended to. 
I was delighted on arriving at BNL to discover that his daughter Louise 
was here.


          Robert M. Sweet                 E-Dress: sweet from bnl.gov
          Group Leader, PXRR: Macromolecular               ^ (that's L
            Crystallography Research Resource at NSLS            not 1)
          Photon Sciences and Biosciences Dept
          Office and mail, Bldg 745, a.k.a. LOB-5
          Brookhaven Nat'l Lab.           Phones:
          Upton, NY  11973                631 344 3401  (Office)
          U.S.A.                          631 344 2741  (Facsimile)

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