Sir David Chilton Phillips, biophysicist and politician, was born on 7 March 1924 in Ellesmere, Shropshire. He was educated at Oswestry Boy’s High School, and then attended University College, Cardiff, where he studied physics, electrical engineering, and mathematics. From 1944-1947 he served as radar officer on HMS Illustrious and then resumed his studies.
Phillips held a post doctoral fellowship at the National Research Laboratories in Ottawa, 1951-1955, where he continuued his studies of 3-D structures of small molecules. In 1955 he returned from Canada to join the David Faraday Research Laboratory of the Royal Institution. There he was the first person to determine in atomic detail the structure of the enzyme lysozyme, and he worked with John Kendrew on the structure of the protein myoglobin.
In 1966 Phillips was appointed Professor of Molecular Biophysics in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, where he remained until retirement in 1989. Here, he was active in the the Oxford Enzyme Group. Phillips was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1967, and awarded the Royal Medal in 1975. He was made OBE in 1979. He was awarded the Gregori Aminoff Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1991.
Phillips was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1967, and awarded the Royal Medal in 1975. He was made OBE in 1979. He was awarded the Gregori Aminoff Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1991.
Phillips became a part-time advisor to the government while still at Oxford. He served on the Medical Research Council (MRC) from 1974 to 1978. He was created a Life Peer as Baron Phillips of Ellesmer in 1994. In the House of Lords he served on the Select Committee on Science and Technology, serving as chairman in 1997.
Phillips died of cancer on 23 February 1999.
The collection contains:
Section A: Biographical and autobiographical
Section B: Diaries and notebooks [MS. Eng. c. 5388; MSS. Eng. d. 2715-2757; MSS. Eng. e. 2942-2947]
Section C: Research notebooks and notes [MSS. Eng. c. 5389-5394; MSS. Eng. d. 2578-2801; MS. Eng. e. 2948]
Section D: Royal Institution [MS. Eng. c. 5395]
Section E: Oxford
Section F: Publications
Section G: Visits, conferences, lectures [MSS. Eng. c. 5431-5457; MS. Eng. e. 2951]
Section H: Radio, television, films [MSS. Eng. c. 5458-5459]
Section J: UK societies, organisations, consultancies [MSS. Eng. c. 5460-5465]
Section K: International societies, organisations, consultancies [MSS. Eng. c. 5466-5471]
Section L: The Royal Society
Section M: Science Research Council/Science and Engineering Research Council (SRC/SERC) [MSS. Eng. c. 5482-5483]
Section N: Medical Research Council (MRC)
Section O: Advisory Board for the Research Councils (ABRC)
Section P: Correspondence
Section R: References and recommendations
The material was received at various dates between January 1991 and February 1994 from Sir David Phillips and from his former Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Oxford University.
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A fuller description and detailed index are available in the Library and at The National Archives.Related Material
Correspondence and papers of Sir John Cowdery Kendrew
Historical material relating to the Oxford Enzyme Group
Science and Technology
Phillips | David Chilton | 1924-1999 | biochemist
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