United States
Walk of life:
Donohue continued to do important work on the structure of DNA which questioned some of Watson and Crick's earlier work.
Biographical details:

Jerry Donohue was born on June 12, 1920 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the son of Jerry Donohue and Leila Marian Bishop. Jerry Donohue, Sr., was an engineer who founded his own company in 1910. Quite possibly, his career path may have sparked his son’s interest in science.

Donohue received his A.B. in 1941 and his M.A. in 1943 from Dartmouth College. He took his Ph.D. in 1947 at the California Institute of Technology under Linus Pauling. He remained at Cal Tech until 1952 as a senior research fellow on the structures of hydrogen-bonded compounds.

In 1952, Donohue was named a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and was provided with the opportunity to study at Cambridge University for the year. While at Cambridge, Donohue shared an office with the Francis Crick and John D. Watson, pioneers of DNA research. Crick and Watson had been unsuccessful in their attempts to build a DNA model for the structure of DNA until Donohue informed them that the widely accepted structures for purine and pyrimidine bases was incorrect. Within a few days the Watson-Crick structure for DNA was established.Donohue continued to do important work on the structure of DNA which questioned some of Watson and Crick’s earlier work.

Returning from England in 1953, he accepted a position at the University of Southern California as Assistant Professor of Chemistry. By 1966 he had risen to the position of Chairman of the Department. In addition to his teaching, Donohue actively continued his research on hydrogen-bonded compounds and began new work on the structure of sulfur compounds. His was prolific in research and writing throughout the decades of the 50’s and 60’s.

In 1966 Donohue accepted an appointment as the Rhodes-Thompson Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania; he remained with the University for the rest of his life. Throughout his tenure at the University his commitment to teaching and research were evident, and in 1984 he won the Lindback Award for distinguished teaching. Cancer forced him to take a leave of absence in 1985.

Donohue’s contributions to the field of Chemistry were international in scope. He specialized in crystal structures and analysis, specifically of molecules relating to biology and hydrogen bonding. His work in elemental structures lead to the publication of his book The Structures of the Elements in 1974. He was appointed a co-editor of the Journal of Crystallographic and Spectroscopic Research in 1977 and continued to have an impact on research in the field of Chemistry throughout his life. In addition to his research, Donohue was actively involved in international conferences and was briefly engaged at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the University of Basil as an instructor.

Donohue died in Philadelphia on February 13, 1985. He married Patricia Schreier; they had two children, Terrence and Nora.

Specific research interests