Typescript letter to John Derek Smith, signed Rick,

dated Gladsaxe [Denmark], December 7, 1965.

One A-4 leaf, text on recto only, two folds; together with the original envelope addressed to Smith at the Cambridge Laboratory for Molecular Biology.


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Typescript letter to John Derek Smith, signed Rick,

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Squires’ main research was into multiple forms of monoamine oxidases, and their inhibitors, which are nowadays used as antidepressants. Squires reports of problems not entirely unrelated with psycho-active substances:

Thanks to the help received from friends and colleagues I was fully acquitted in Cadiz. The letters which you and Francis Crick wrote played a very important role in securing my release … The physical conditions in the jail in Cadiz were rather bad but psychologically the conditions were remarkably good. I had the company of about 15 other foreigners all of whom were in jail for smuggling marihuana. Unfortunately most of them were sentenced to six years and a day.

Provenance: From the archive of John Derek Smith, who is renowned for having broken down the structure of ribonucleic acid, a close relative to DNA, which contains the genome of many plant viruses. In 1951 Smith separated single nucleotides (subunits of RNA) and some sequences of nucleotides by paper electrophoresis. In the mid 1950s Smith began to collaborate with David B. Dunn on the four known nucleotides. From 1955 to 1962 Smith continued the study of nucleic acids and viruses at Berkeley, and the California Institute of Technology. As a world leader in nucleic acid chemistry he was recruited as the first staff member of Max Perutz’ unit of the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge where he joined Francis Crick and Sidney Brenner in the division of molecular genetics.

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