Don Caspar on Working at Caltech
  Don Caspar     Biography    
Recorded: 01 Jan 2001

Actually—I was in [Max] Delbrück’s laboratory, but I was not doing any work. I think that Delbrück was actually sort of my official sponsor but one of the main things I wanted to do was to try to look at the other classes of virus. The so-called spherical viruses, and I was growing crystals, but trying to do the X-ray work in Linus Pauling’s lab. But the lab was set up in a way that really sort of made it just about impossible to do anything, to collect any data on really very large structures. That I was doing some small angle scattering work in Jesse DuMond’s lab in physics and then doing some macromolecular physical chemistry in [James] Bonner’s laboratory and also spending some time with Sam Wildman at UCLA who was, he and his students were pioneers in the biochemical, chemical characterization of tobacco mosaic virus.

Donald Caspar, structural biologist and crystallographer, is a professor emeritus of Biological Sciences at the Institute of Molecular Biophysics at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida and is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Born on January 8, 1927, he received his B.A. in Physics from Cornell University in 1950, and his his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Yale University in 1955. Caspar is interested in protein adaptability, virus assembly, protein plasticity and x-ray diffraction. He currently researches the mechanics of protein movements by executing structural studies.

He has attended many symposia at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, starting in 1961, and worked with Watson at Caltech and Harvard. He is a member of the National Academy of Science. Dr. Casper is a long-time friend and colleague of Dr. James D. Watson as well as many of the early pioneers in molecular biology, including Dr. Rosalind Franklin.

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