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The Children’s Inn Turns 30

Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins

The Children’s Inn at NIH just celebrated its 30th anniversary. In just three decades, The Children’s Inn has given more than 15,000 children, young adults, and their families a second home while at NIH participating in research studies. To mark this wonderful milestone, I recorded the song, “Somewhere Past the Pandemic. Enjoy!

X-Ray Diffraction: Still Beautiful After All These Years

Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins

Image of a grey circle with a white line passing through the center.
X-Ray diffraction image created from a crystal of Bacteriophage HK97.
Source: John Johnson, The Scripps Research Institute

This year marks the 100th anniversary of X-ray diffraction technology. Developed in 1912, this important tool enables researchers to figure out the 3-D structure of a molecule by beaming X-rays, often through its crystallized form. More than 85% of the protein structures we know today have been determined via this method.

For more information about x-ray diffraction, I recommend Structural Biology Fact Sheet and The Structures of Life: X-ray Crystallography.

Image of a circle with purple striations in an X pattern.

Here you see the X-ray diffraction image that James Watson and Francis Crick used to decipher the double helix structure of DNA in 1953.

And now for a trivia question! As some of you may know, one of my hobbies is playing the guitar—a guitar that happens to have a DNA double helix inlaid on its fretboard. All special guitars should have a name.  B.B. King has Lucille. Eric Clapton had Blackie. After which famous scientist, responsible for the image used by Watson and Crick, is my guitar named?

A: ɹosɐlıup Ⅎɹɐuʞlıu