Lipscomb’s laboratory was a training ground for many future Nobel laureates, including Thomas A. Steitz of Yale University, Ada E. Yonath of the Weizmann Institute of Science, and Cornell University theoretician Roald Hoffmann.
Lipscomb was affectionately called “Colonel” by his friends because of his Kentucky heritage. He was a skilled clarinetist who often played in chamber music groups, a tennis enthusiast and a practical joker. At mealtimes, he would steal butter off other people’s butter knives and was known to remove the fruit from walnuts and glue the shells back together before offering them to guests. He also participated in the Ig Nobel Prize ceremonies held at Harvard and even agreed to be the prize in the event’s Win-a-Date-with-a-Nobel Laureate contest.
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Nicole Kresge (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the editor of ASBMB Today