Peter D. Mitchell

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Peter Dennis Mitchell (born September 29, 1920 in Mitcham ( Surrey , England), † April 10, 1992 in Bodmin ( Cornwall , England)) was a British chemist who received the 1978 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his research on energy conversion in cells .


Mitchell studied at Cambridge University and received his doctorate there in 1950 with James F. Danielli . From 1955 to 1963 he was director of the Department of Chemistry and Biology at the Zoological Institute at Edinburgh University . In 1954 he became director of research at Glynn Research Laboratories .

He studied the mitochondria , the "power plants" of the living cell. He formulated the chemiosmotic theory , which as the "Mitchell hypothesis" was controversial for a long time and was sometimes fiercely opposed. Meanwhile, Mitchell's discovery of chemiosmotic coupling has become an important cornerstone of modern life sciences. She explains how the transport of protons through a biomembrane is used in the cell to convert adenosine diphosphate (ADP) to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as an energy source . He coined the term proticity to emphasize the analogy between proton flux and electric current .

In 1975 Mitchell was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences , and in 1977 to the National Academy of Sciences . In 1978 he received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of chemiosmotic coupling . In 1981 Mitchell received the Copley Medal from the Royal Society . In 1989 he became an external member ( associé étranger ) of the Académie des sciences .


  • P. Mitchell: Coupling of phosphorylation to electron and hydrogen transfer by a chemi-osmotic type of mechanism. In: Nature. Volume 191, 1961, pp. 144-148. PMID 13771349
  • P. Mitchell: Keilin's respiratory chain concept and its chemiosmotic consequences. In: Science. Volume 206, No. 4423, 1979, pp. 1148-1159. PMID 388618
  • John Prebble, Bruce Weber: Wandering in the Gardens of the Mind: Peter Mitchell and the Making of Glynn. [Biography]. Oxford University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-19-514266-7

See also

History of ATP synthase

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Biographical data, publications and academic family tree of Peter D. Mitchell at, accessed on January 3, 2019.