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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index H > Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins Quotes

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Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins
(20 Jun 1861 - 16 May 1947)

English biochemist who shared (with Christiaan Eijkman) the 1929 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for discovery of essential nutrient factors, now known as vitamins, needed in animal diets to maintain health.

Science Quotes by Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins (8 quotes)

A cell has a history; its structure is inherited, it grows, divides, and, as in the embryo of higher animals, the products of division differentiate on complex lines. Living cells, moreover, transmit all that is involved in their complex heredity. I am far from maintaining that these fundamental properties may not depend upon organisation at levels above any chemical level; to understand them may even call for different methods of thought; I do not pretend to know. But if there be a hierarchy of levels we must recognise each one, and the physical and chemical level which, I would again say, may be the level of self-maintenance, must always have a place in any ultimate complete description.
— Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins
'Some Aspects of Biochemistry', The Irish Journal of Medical Science (1932), 79, 346.
Science quotes on:  |  Cell (137)  |  Growth (124)  |  Heredity (53)

As a progressive discipline [biochemistry] belongs to the present century. From the experimental physiologists of the last century it obtained a charter, and, from a few pioneers of its own, a promise of success; but for the furtherance of its essential aim that century left it but a small inheritance of facts and methods. By its essential or ultimate aim I myself mean an adequate and acceptable description of molecular dynamics in living cells and tissues.
— Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins
'Some Chemical Aspects of Life', Address (Sep 1933) in Report on the 103rd Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1933), 3.
Science quotes on:  |  Biochemistry (46)  |  Metabolism (11)  |  Physiologist (17)

But, further, no animal can live upon a mixture of pure protein, fat and carbohydrate, and even when the necessary inorganic material is carefully supplied, the animal still cannot flourish. The animal body is adjusted to live either upon plant tissues or the tissues of other animals, and these contain countless substances other than the proteins, carbohydrates and fats... In diseases such as rickets, and particularly in scurvy, we have had for long years knowledge of a dietetic factor; but though we know how to benefit these conditions empirically, the real errors in the diet are to this day quite obscure. They are, however, certainly of the kind which comprises these minimal qualitative factors that I am considering.
— Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins
'The Analyst and the Medical Man', The Analyst (1906), 31, 395-6.
Science quotes on:  |  Carbohydrate (2)  |  Diet (46)  |  Fat (11)  |  Food (154)  |  Protein (44)  |  Scurvy (5)  |  Vitamin (11)

It is an old saying, abundantly justified, that where sciences meet there growth occurs. It is true moreover to say that in scientific borderlands not only are facts gathered that [are] often new in kind, but it is in these regions that wholly new concepts arise. It is my own faith that just as the older biology from its faithful studies of external forms provided a new concept in the doctrine of evolution, so the new biology is yet fated to furnish entirely new fundamental concepts of science, at which physics and chemistry when concerned with the non-living alone could never arrive.
— Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins
'Biological Thought and Chemical Thought: A Plea for Unification', Linacre Lecture, Cambridge (6 May 1938), published in Lancet (1938),2, 1204.
Science quotes on:  |  Biology (168)  |  Fact (733)  |  Growth (124)  |  Theory (696)

My main thesis will be that in the study of the intermediate processes of metabolism we have to deal not with complex substances which elude ordinary chemical methods, but with the simple substances undergoing comprehensible reactions... I intend also to emphasise the fact that it is not alone with the separation and identification of products from the animal that our present studies deal; but with their reactions in the body; with the dynamic side of biochemical phenomena.
— Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins
'The Dynamic Side of Biochemistry', Address (11 Sep 1913) in Report on the 83rd Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1914), 653.
Science quotes on:  |  Biochemistry (46)  |  Metabolism (11)

One reason which has led the organic chemist to avert his mind from the problems of Biochemistry is the obsession that the really significant happenings in the animal body are concerned in the main with substances of such high molecular weight and consequent vagueness of molecular structure as to make their reactions impossible of study by his available and accurate methods. There remains, I find, pretty widely spread, the feeling—due to earlier biological teaching—that, apart from substances which are obviously excreta, all the simpler products which can be found in cells or tissues are as a class mere objects, already too remote from the fundamental biochemical events to have much significance. So far from this being the case, recent progress points in the clearest way to the fact that the molecules with which a most important and significant part of the chemical dynamics of living tissues is concerned are of a comparatively simple character.
— Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins
In 'The Dynamic Side of Biochemistry', Address (11 Sep 1913) in Report on the 83rd Meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1914), 657-8.
Science quotes on:  |  Biochemistry (46)  |  Metabolism (11)

The cell, too, has a geography, and its reactions occur in colloidal apparatus, of which the form, and the catalytic activity of its manifold surfaces, must efficiently contribute to the due guidance of chemical reactions.
— Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins
'Some Aspects of Biochemistry', The Irish Journal of Medical Science (1932), 79, 344.
Science quotes on:  |  Catalyst (7)  |  Cell (137)  |  Colloid (5)  |  Metabolism (11)

When physiologists revealed the existence and functions of hormones they not only gave increased opportunities for the activities of biochemists but in particular gave a new charter to biochemical thought, and with the discovery of vitamins that charter was extended.
— Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins
'Biological Thought and Chemical Thought: A Plea for Unification', Linacre Lecture, Cambridge (6 May 1938), published in Lancet (1938),2, 1201.
Science quotes on:  |  Activity (135)  |  Biochemist (4)  |  Biochemistry (46)  |  Charter (4)  |  Discovery (680)  |  Existence (299)  |  Extension (31)  |  Function (131)  |  Hormone (8)  |  Increase (146)  |  Opportunity (63)  |  Physiologist (17)  |  Reveal (52)  |  Thought (546)  |  Vitamin (11)

Quotes by others about Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins (3)

The growth curves of the famous Hopkins' rats are familiar to anyone who has ever opened a textbook of physiology. One recalls the proud ascendant curve of the milk-fed group which suddenly turns downwards as the milk supplement is removed, and the waning curve of the other group taking its sudden milk-assisted upward spring, until it passes its fellow now abruptly on the decline. 'Feeding experiments illustrating the importance of accessory factors in normal dietaries', Jour. Physiol., 1912, xliv, 425, ranks aesthetically beside the best stories of H. G. Wells.
Vitamins and Other Dietary Essentials (1933), 46.
Science quotes on:  |  Biochemistry (46)  |  Diet (46)  |  Food (154)  |  Growth (124)  |  Milk (13)  |  Rat (21)

In trying to evaluate Hopkins' unique contribution to biochemistry it may perhaps be said that he alone amongst his contemporaries succeeded in formulating the subject. Among others whose several achievements in their own fields may have surpassed his, no one has ever attempted to unify and correlate biochemical knowledge so as to form a comprehensible picture of the cell and its relation to life, reproduction and function.
'Sir F. G. Hopkins' Teaching and Scientific Influence'. In J. Needham and E. Baldwin (eds.), Hopkins and Biochemistry, 1861-1947 (1949), 36.
Science quotes on:  |  Biochemistry (46)  |  Biography (232)  |  Cell (137)

But nothing ever put 'Hoppy' in the shade. No one could fail to recognize in the little figure... the authentic gold of intellectual inspiration, the Fundator et Primus Abbas of biochemistry in England.
Co-author with D. M. Needham,
'F. G. Hopkins' Personal Influence'. In J. Needham and E. Baldwin (eds.), Hopkins and Biochemistry, 1861-1947 (1949), 115.
Science quotes on:  |  Biography (232)

See also:
  • 20 Jun - short biography, births, deaths and events on date of Hopkins's birth.

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