Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 128, Issue 3, pp 223–234 | Cite as

Louis Nico Marie Duysens (March 15, 1921–September 8, 2015): a leading biophysicist of the 20th century

History and Biography

Abstract

Louis Nico Marie (L. N. M.) Duijsens (Duysens) was one of the giants in the biophysics of photosynthesis. His PhD thesis “Transfer of Excitation Energy in Photosynthesis” (Duysens, 1952) is a classic; he introduced light-induced absorption difference spectroscopy to photosynthesis research and proved the existence of reaction centers, introducing advanced methods from physics to understand biological processes. Further, it is his 1959–1961 seminal work, with Jan Amesz, that provided evidence for the existence of the series scheme for the two light reactions in oxygenic photosynthesis. In one word, he was one of the master biophysicists of the 20th century—who provided direct measurements on many key intermediates, and made us understand the intricacies of photosynthesis with a simplicity that no one else ever did. We present here our personal perspective of the scientist that Lou Duysens was. For an earlier perspective, see van Grondelle and van Gorkom (Photosynth Res 120: 3–7, 2014).

Keywords

Reaction Centers Two light reactions Two photosystems Primary photochemistry Excitation energy transfer Electron carriers 

Notes

Acknowledgments

M.P.J.(Tinus) Pulles is grateful to his professors Jan Amesz and Lou Duijsens for what they taught him. Govindjee is thankful to his professors Robert Emerson, Jan B. Thomas and Eugene Rabinowitch for mentoring him and teaching him how to be a good scientist. He also thanks Baishnab C. Tripathy, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, for a Visiting Professorship in the School of Life Sciences. Highly valuable comments, on this paper, by Hans van Gorkom are gratefully acknowledged. We are indebted to the family of Lou Duysens for information on his early life and providing us the photograph used in Fig. 1. This manuscript was edited and approved for publication in Photosynthesis Research by Rienk van Grondelle, an Associate Editor of the journal. We also thank Henk van der Wal, Robert Blankenship and Rajni Govindjee for reading and making suggestions before its publication.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Center of Biophysics & Quantitative BiologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.UtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.School of Life SciencesJawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia

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