Saturday, September 13, 2014

"The 'Cillium is a Roan that's never been rid , though thousands of chemists once claimed they did "

The title is a snatch of a song about the penicillium chrysogenum , with apologies to Curley Fletcher and his rather better known tale of the Strawberry Roan that also was never successfully rode.

To justify the expense of the Manhattan Project , America's military research bosses at the OSRD saw to it that A-bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and then credited (wrongly) with being the sole cause for ending WWII.

To justify all the OSRD money wasted on not synthesizing penicillin, particularly when their rival WPB-OPRD spent far less to quickly make natural penicillin a resounding success, the OSRD bosses faked a synthetic success (about penicillin) to release to the gullible scientific media.

du Vigneaud's synthetic success (read synthetic = fake)

For Vincent du Vigneaud's team at Cornell Medical in NYC did indeed produce a little biologically active penicillin in the course of their efforts to synthesize penicillin.

So thousands of the world's top chemists got to take a public bow for yet another signal triumph in modern - BIG - science's endless progress ever upward.

But privately most knew that du Vigneaud synthetic goal was towards a molecule shape that did not match the necessary shape of biologically-active natural penicillin.

So this tiny amount of real penicillin must have been an accidental impurity of a mis-conceived theoretical approach !

More than 85 years after it was discovered, chemists have still not commercially synthesized a better or cheaper base penicillin molecule than what the tiny weak fungi can do on its own ...

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