Friday, 17 February 2012
Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to a great old scientist called Philip Lawley
Philip Lawley the scientist who, with the help of his fellow researcher Peter Brookes, provided the first convincing evidence that DNA is the key target for chemicals which cause cancer, an insight which laid the foundation for the now universally accepted idea that cancer is a genetic disease, died at the end of last year at the age of 84.
What you possible didn't know about Philip, that he :
* was born in Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire, to parents who were teachers and after grammar school, obtained a degree in chemistry at University College, Oxford in 1949 and a doctorate at Nottingham University in 1953.
* was described in his obituary in 'The Gaurdian' as having beneath his shy exterior : 'a piercing intellect, prodigious memory, wry humour, deep scholarship, liberal views and iron-clad integrity'.
* was happiest working at the bench, he wrote concisely and elegantly, in longhand, standing at tables piled with papers, moving from table to table until his manuscript was completed.
* took great pleasure in conversation, jazz, dogs and old trams.
* in 1964 made the crucial discovery that carcinogenic potency, in tobacco smoke for example, was positively correlated with DNA binding, but not protein or RNA. and overturned the prevailing view that proteins were the 'critical cellular targets' for carcinogens and arguably changed the course of cancer research.
* in 1983, became Professor of Chemical Carcinogenesis at the University of London, retired in 1992 and continued to work for many years in the Institute of Cancer Research's laboratories in Surrey.