Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaard Ltd., 1952. 1st Edition. FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPS OF “THE FIRST PAPER PUBLISHED IN A SCIENTIFIC JOURNAL ON THE APPLICATION OF AN ELECTRONIC COMPUTER TO COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY” AND CRYSTAL-STRUCTURE INVESTIGATION (Christies, Origin of Cyberspace Auction, 2005, 139). A brief summary was published in the Manchester Conference Proceedings, but this paper was intended for X-ray crystallographers and is far more thorough.
Working together at the Cavendish Laboratory, the English biochemists John Bennett and John Kendrew “wrote the first program for three-dimensional Fourier calculations” which Kendrew then ran on the an early British computer, EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator) “in order to solve the structure of the protein myoglobin” (ibid).
"During the 1940s the limitation of human calculation ability was reached in solving the structures of molecules with about 10 distinct atoms. The production of electron density maps for structure analysis involves very heavy calculations on large quantities of numerical data, and the state of the art during the early 1940s was such that the limits of human ability in this area were reached at structures containing not more than about 10 crystallographically distinct atoms.
“The determination of a 10-atom-type structure involved, in the early 1940s, about six weeks of experimental work followed by anything up to three years of hand computation for a group of human "slaves" and, even during wartime, I [Kendrew] was trying to design equipment to mechanize parts of the crystallographic process" (ibid).
The suite of programs that Kendrew and Bennett designed “could perform the arithmetical operations ‘of addition and subtraction’ in one and a half milliseconds, and ‘multiplication in six milliseconds’ (Garcia-Sancho, Computing, and the History of Molecular Sequencing, 75). “Without the speed of electronic computing, the structure of protein molecules that contain thousands of distinct atoms would never have been solved” (Origin of Cyberspace). Item #528
CONDITION & DETAILS: Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaard Ltd. First edition in original wraps. 4to. 10.25 by 7.5 inches (256 x 188mm). pp. 1-156. Meticulously re-backed at the spine with the original spine label. Pristine condition inside and out. Fine.