Biochemist Paul Boyer, who won the 1997 Nobel Prize in chemistry has died, the Los Angeles Times reports. He was 99.
Boyer, then at the University of California, Los Angeles, shared the Nobel with Aarhus University's Jens Christian Skou and MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology's John Walker. Boyer and Walker teased out how adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is synthesized and Skou determined how the enzyme Na+/K+-ATPase transported ions across cell membranes. Skou died at the end of May.
Boyer in particular, the LA Times notes, theorized that the three components of ATP synthase formed a rotating motor that carried out the same function. "All the sites were doing it identically, and one after another," Boyer told the paper in 1997. "The only way I could see to explain that was internal rotation."
Boyer received his PhD in biochemistry in 1943 and worked with a team during World War II that developed a means of stabilizing blood plasma proteins for field blood transfusions that is still used today, the LA Times adds.
"He really believed in humans, and he believed in the ability of science to help humans live better lives," his daughter, Gail Boyer Hayes, tells the paper.