Tag Archives: Biochemistry

Jew of the Week: Melvin Calvin

Happy Tu B’Shvat!

Melvin Calvin – A Plant’s Best Friend

Melvin Calvin (1911 – 1997) One of the greatest biochemists of the last century, this man mapped the entire chemical process of photosynthesis. He won the Nobel Prize for this in 1961. Of course, the mechanism bears his name: the Calvin Cycle. Since today is the holiday of Tu B’Shvat (the “New Year of Trees”), it is appropriate to feature Melvin Calvin. After all, he is known as the one who revealed their age-old secret: photosynthesis. (Also, we had Hans Krebs a few weeks ago, and it would be unfair to feature the Krebs Cycle and not the Calvin Cycle).



Words of the Week

Because each life form, even fruit, is entrusted to a specific angel. By saying a blessing over a fruit, we empower that angel to reproduce more of that fruit. One who refrains from partaking of a fruit deprives the world of the spiritual influence that the blessing would have provided.
– Chemdat Yamim (from the Tu B’Shvat Seder)

Jew of the Week: Hans Krebs

Chappy Chanukah!

Sir Hans Krebs (1900-1981) The discoverer of the citric acid cycle, now infamously known as the Krebs Cycle, for which he won the Nobel Prize in 1953 (shared with Fritz Lipmann – a fellow Jew). Served in the German army until 1933, when he fled to England for the crime of being a Jew. For his awesomeness, he was knighted by the Queen in 1958 (that’s right, there are Jewish Knights). His son is currently a member of the House of Lords in the U.K. (equivalent to our Senate).


Words of the Week

Every spiritual malady has a cure, except for pride.
– Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760)