Donald D. Van Slyke

National Medal of Science

Biological Sciences

For classic studies of the chemistry of blood and of amino acid metabolism, and for the quantitative biochemical methodology underlying much of clinical medicine.

For classic studies of the chemistry of blood and of amino acid metabolism, and for the quantitative biochemical methodology underlying much of clinical medicine.

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Birth
March 29, 1883
Age Awarded
82
Country of Birth
USA
Key Contributions
Quantitative Blood Chemistry
The Entire Field Of Clinical Chemistry
Awarded by
Lyndon Baines Johnson
Education
University of Michigan
Areas of Impact
Health & Medicine
Affiliations
Brookhaven National Laboratory
I

In high school, Donald D. Van Slyke never took a chemistry course.
 

In fact, it’s his English teacher, Florence Parker, that he credits with his scientific research, expressed with lucidity in 317 journal publications and 5 books over the course of his lifetime.

In 1914, the New York native was appointed chief chemist of the Rockefeller Institute Hospital, where he helped develop the field of clinical chemistry – the testing of compounds in bodily fluids.

His achievements include a reaction to measure amino acids and the “Van Slyke apparatus,” used to detect concentrations of respiratory gases in the blood.

In his spare time, Van Slyke liked to play tennis, a hobby once compared to his persistence in the laboratory during his 80th birthday party:

“Most exasperating of all, he uses no fancy strokes — but just keeps putting it back until he wins the point. He wins lots of sets, and he solves lots of problems."

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