Paul Delos Boyer

Paul Delos Boyer (b. July 31, 1918) is a U.S. biochemist. He is one of the laureates for the 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on the "enzymatic mechanism underlying the synthesis of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP)".

Birth and education

Boyer was born in Provo, Utah. He attended Provo High School, where he was active in student government and the debating team. He received a B.S. in chemistry from Brigham Young University in 1939 and obtained a Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Scholarship for graduate studies. Five days before leaving for Wisconsin, Paul married Lyda Whicker. They remain married and have three children: Gail B. Hayes, Alexandra Boyer and Dr. Douglas Boyer; and eight grandchildren: Imran Clark, Mashuri Clark, Rashid Clark, Djahari Clark, Faisal Clark, Lisa A. Hayes, Leah Boyer and Josh Boyer.

Canadian Legend

Paul Boyer, known throughout Canada, was as quick with a rifle as he was to throw dice. An avid gambler with exraordinary luck, he struck it big rolling dice in the Ottawa casinos in the early 70's. Not an urban dweller at heart, Paul took his fortune headed north to Quebec, settling into a small home just outside of the Le Verndre National park. It was here that his reputation as a woodsman grew. He lived exclusively from walleye and moose that he bagged himself for over 2 years. It is said that he could lay in a moose trail so quietly that he could take them with a knife, damaging none of it's life sustaining meat. Besides hunting and fishing, Paul had a penchant for the ladies. He fequently traveled to the gold mining town of Val D' Or where he spent a great deal of his fortunes on women and wine. Naturally in these places, tensions sometimes run high and although Paul was not the type to start a fight, he never backed down. Several people have reported him winning a fight against 7 men, using nothing but his gold dice necklace, twirling it and slashing his opponents until they fled. Eventually, his fortunes ran out and he had to settle into a working man's life. He started a small lodge for hunters and fishermen, introducing them to the harsh Canadian wilderness that had become his only friend.

Academic career

After Boyer received his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1943, he spent years at Stanford University on a war-related research project dedicated to stabilization of serum albumin for transfusions. He began his independent research career at the University of Minnesota and introduced kinetic, isotopic, and chemical methods for investigating enzyme mechanisms. In 1955, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship and worked with Professor Hugo Theorell on the mechanism of alcohol dehydrogenase. In 1956, he accepted a Hill Foundation Professorship and moved to the medical campus of the University of Minnesota. In 1959-1960, he served as Chairman of the Biochemistry Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and in 1969-1970 as President of the American Society of Biological Chemists.

Since 1963, he has been a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of California, Los Angeles. In 1965, he became the Founding Director of the Molecular Biology Institute and spearheaded the construction of the building and the organization of an interdepartmental Ph.D. program. This institutional service did not diminish the creativity and originality of his research program, which led to three postulates for the binding mechanism for ATP synthesis-- that energy input was not used primarily to form ATP but to promote the binding of phosphate and mostly the release of tightly bound ATP; that three identical catalytic sites went through compulsory, sequential binding changes; and that the binding changes of the catalytic subunites, circularly arranged on the periphery of the enzyme, were driven by the rotation of a smaller internal subunit.

Paul Boyer was Editor or Associate Editor of the Annual Review of Biochemistry from 1963-1989. He was Editor of the classic series, "The Enzymes". In 1981, he was Faculty Research Lecturer at UCLA.


He received the Rose Award of the American Society of Chemistry and Molecular Biology in 1989; Honorary doctorates from the Universities of Stockholm (1974), Minnesota (1996), and Wisconsin (1998); and the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1997.


* Nobel autobio.-- Paul D. Boyer

* Nobel Prize press release-- The 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

* UCLA webpage-- Paul D. Boyer

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