The Chemistry Department's first major venture into bio-chemistry took shape yesterday when Dean Bundy announced the appointment of two University of Chicago professors as full professors here.
Konrad Bloch, internationally known for his research in steroids, will become the College's first Higgins Professor of Biochemistry, and Frank H. Westheimer, an organic chemist noted for his study of enzyme action, has been named professor of Chemistry. Both are presently carrying on research in organic chemistry related to biochemistry at Chicago.
E. Bright Wilson, Jr., chairman of the Chemistry Department, explained that pre-medical students who need background in biochemistry comprise a large fraction of his Department, but that this was not the only consideration in appointing the new professors. "We felt the time had come," said Wilson, "for us to emphasize the chemistry side of biochemistry. Several other branches of the University, including the Biology Department and the Medical School, also study the subject, but from other points of view."
World's Leading Candidates
Bloch and Westheimer were chosen after a canvass of the world's 50 leading biochemical researchers, Wilson noted. Their appointment, will increases the faculty of the Chemistry Department from 24 to 26 and the number of full professors in the Department from seven to nine.
Concerning their reasons for leaving the University of Chicago, Wilson observed that "We, made them nice offers." He was not certain that this was the decisive factor in their acceptance, however.
Bloch, who received his Ph.D. from Columbia in 1938 after graduating from the Technical Center in Munich, has recently made use of radioactive carbon as a tracer in investigating the metabolism of amino acids. He holds the Harvey Medal for medical research.
Westheimer, a Dartmouth graduate, received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1935 and has been on the Chicago staff since 1936. During the second world war he served as research supervisor at the Explosives Research Laboratory of the National Defense Research Committee.
The two appointments are effective as of this July 1.