John EdsallIn existographies, John Edsall (1902-2002) (CR:10) was an American chemist, specializing in: physical chemistry, biochemistry, protein chemistry, and bioenergetics, noted for his 1970s and 1980s publications on bioenergetics and biothermodynamics.

Overview
In 1974, Edsall, in his “Some Notes and Queries on the Development of Bioenergetics”, attempted a short history on the founding fathers of physical chemistry, with focus on bioenergetics, wherein he points out, among other things, how American physical chemist Gilbert Lewis worked as an instructor at Harvard for a year before taking a traveling fellowship, studying under the physical chemists Wilhelm Ostwald at Leipzig and Walther Nernst at Göttingen. [1]

Edsall, here, also touches on Ostwald's energetic imperative.

In 1983, Edsall, in his Biothermodynamics: the Study of Biochemical Processes at Equilibrium, discussed the history and biological processes of thermodynamics; theoretical aspects of thermodynamic principles which aid in understanding biochemical processes; and the interpretation of data obtained from biochemical reactions, ligand binding, and calorimetric measurements on biological systems. [2] He also cited the work of George Armstrong, in respect to the invention of “ingenious instruments” developed over the years, following Antoine Lavoisier and Pierre Laplace. [4]

Education
In c.1944, Edsall completed a degree in chemistry at Harvard; in 1983, he was associated with the department of biochemistry and molecular biology of Harvard.

Quotes | By
The following are representative quotes:

“There is an obvious relation between [message transmission] and what happens, for instance, when a solid melts and the orderly crystal structure is replaced by the more random motion of the molecules in the liquid. This has led [Shannon and Weaver (1949) and Szilard (1925)] to propose that the production of information is in effect the production of negative entropy (increase in order). In spite of the obvious analogy between the two kinds of processes, the attempt to embody this general idea in quantitative terms runs into serious difficulties and Popper (1976) and others hold it to be invalid [see: information entropy (quotes)].”
— John Edsall (1983), Biothermodynamics: the Study of Biochemical Processes [3]

“How much of the work of Gibbs is still untapped—relations that may be of chemical and biochemical importance—we cannot tell. It is interesting to remember that Gibbs had formulated the principle of Donnan equilibrium in 1876 thirty five years before Donnan. Nobody recognized this until G.S. Adair one of the few biochemists who had actually read Gibbs, pointed it out in 1923. One wonders what other precious nuggets may still be hidden in this work.”
— John Edsall (1974), “Some Notes and Queries on the Development of Bioenergetics” (pg. 104)

References
1. Edsall, John T. (1974). “Some Notes and Queries on the Development of Bioenergetics. Notes on some ‘Founding Fathers’ of Physical Chemistry: J. Willard Gibbs, Wilhelm Ostwald, Walther Nernst, Gilbert Newton Lewis” (abs), Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, 5(1-2): 103–12, Nov 15.
2. Edsall, John T. (1983). Biothermodynamics: the Study of Biochemical Processes at Equilibrium (editor: Hanoch Gutfreund) (pg. 1). Wiley.
3. (a) Popper, Karl. (1976). Unended Quest: an Intellectual Autobiography. Routledge, 2005.
(b) Edsall, John T. and Gutfreund, Hanoch (1983). Biothermodynamics: the Study of Biochemical Processes at Equilibrium (pg. 27). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
4. (a) Armstrong, George T. (1964). “The Calorimeter and its Influence on the Development of Chemistry” (Ѻ) (abs), Journal of Chemical Education, 41(6):287-.
(b) Edsall, John T. (1983). Biothermodynamics: the Study of Biochemical Processes at Equilibrium (editor: Hanoch Gutfreund) (pg. 1). Wiley.

External links
John Tileston Edsall – Wikipedia.

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