Bruce Merrifield

I’m sure many of you know that Bruce Merrifield passed away a few weeks ago. In today’s issue of Nature, Stephen Kent wrote an obituary describing Merrifield and his accomplishments.

If your institution subscribes to the ACS archives, you can download “”">Solid Phase Peptide Synthesis. I. The Synthesis of a Tetrapeptide" (you should be able to download the first page for free). According to C&EN, this was the “fifth most cited paper in the journal’s 125-year history.”

You may also want to take a look at Gutte’s & Merrifield’s classic 1971 JACS paper, in which they reported the synthesis of ribonuclease A (124 amino acids long: this “required 369 chemical reactions and 11,931 steps of the automated peptide synthesis machine without any intermediate isolation steps.”)

Merrifield also wrote two reviews in Science (in 1965 and 1986) – they’re both pretty interesting reviews (and it’s amazing to see how much changed in those 21 years…)


Joshua Finkelstein (Associate Editor, Nature)