With the death of Edward Charles Slater, Bill for insiders, biochemistry loses one of the key players in the field of bioenergetics in the second half of the twentieth century. Raised in Australia and trained as a chemist, he joined the lab of David Keilin FRS in Cambridge for his PhD where he discovered a new component of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, an Fe-S protein, long known as the Slater factor. After a brief post-doc period in the lab of Severo Ochoa in New York, where Slater started studies on oxidative phosphorylation that would remain his major interest, he returned to Keilin's institute. In 1953 he formulated there his chemical hypothesis for the mechanism of oxidative phosphorylation that would dominate the field until displaced by the chemi-osmotic theory of Peter Mitchell FRS. In 1955 Slater moved to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where he built up one of the largest and most successful biochemistry labs in Europe. He was not only an excellent biochemist, but also an outstanding mentor and a gifted administrator who turned Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) into the largest and one of the most influential biochemical journals of the 1960s and 1970s and who contributed to the governance of numerous organizations, such as the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB).
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Published by the Royal Society