Alumni Stories

Student presentation shows up in the strangest of places - a NOVEL!

For a Crystallography class at the U of L Tim Janzen wrote a presentation called “Synchrotron Radiation and MAD Phasing in Protein Crystallography”.

Dave Richards is a Canadian writer, who recently had a novel published -The Source of Light (Thistledown Press, Saskatoon).

The story line has a biochemist and a beamline physicist at CLS synchrotron as two of the main characters. The characters needed to be working on something plausible and new – making their project subject to industrial espionage.

In searching the Internet he came across Tim’s presentation “Synchrotron Radiation and MAD Phasing in Protein Crystallography”.

It discussed the problem of atmospheric absorption. While Dave actually understood very little of the science he did get a feel for some of the problems scientists face so he had the fictional characters discover a new procedure for testing protein crystals that solved all the problems. Dave did say fiction! Anyway, this becomes a subject of interest to some unsavoury characters and the espionage story goes along.

While he never actually quoted any of Tim’s work – Dave did want to give Tim credit for the inspiration.

NOTE: Tim Janzen graduated with a MSc in Biochemistry (2010); Dr. Steven Mosimann was his supervisor.