Keith Burton

photo neededIn existographies, William Keith Burton (1922-1996) (IQ:#|#) (CR:15), commonly known as "Keith Burton", cited as K. Burton, was English electrical engineer and theoretical physicist, notable, according to American physical chemist Robert Alberty, for producing and compiling his 1957 thermodynamics table for biochemical reactions, four pages in length, the first of five entitled "Free Energies of Formation from the Elements", containing free energy of formation values ΔGfº for about 100 species of biochemical reactions, able to make predictions on reactions that had not yet occurred. [1] The table was appended to the Germans physician and biochemist Hans Krebs and biochemist Hans Kornberg's booklet Energy Transformations in Living Matter, the first major publication on the thermodynamics of biochemical reactions.

Thermodynamic tables
In 1957, famously Burton published a set of five thermodynamic tables. Prior to this time, apparent equilibrium constants had been measured for a number of enzyme-catalyzed reactions. Burton’s significance was that he recognized that these apparent equilibrium constants together with standard Gibbs energies of formation ΔGfº for biochemical species to make a table that could be used to calculate equilibrium constants of biochemical reactions that had not yet been studied. [4]
Alberty (2003)
A section from Robert Alberty's 2003 Thermodynamic of Biochemical Reactions, discussing the significance of Burton's work on making his thermodynamic table of free energies of formation for chemical species involved in the physiology of organisms and reactions occurring inside organisms. [1]

Last publication
Oddly enough, with his keen perception as to the constructions and underpinnings of biochemical thermodynamic tables, although Burton could have become another Gilbert Lewis, he published very little after his famed thermodynamics table. In particularly, according to his biographer George Wyllie, Burton found publication increasingly difficult because, as he expressed it: [2]

“Of the impossibility of saying anything without saying everything.”

Burton seems to have arrived at this view due to his tendency towards meticulous analysis of subjects, where he could never contemplate a physical question without digging through its foundations. [2]

Burton collaborated with F.C. Frank and N. Cabrera in a study of surface processes in crystal growth, to which his prime contribution was an analysis of the statistical thermodynamics of islands of monomolecular thickness on a clean crystal surface. His interest in the logical basis of physics led to a useful collaboration with Robin Giles, whose seminal 1964 book on the logic of thermodynamics owed much to their discussions. [3] Burton also corresponded with Edwin Jaynes, who it is said that he converted, on the probabilistic interpretation of statistical mechanics in relation to information theory.

Burton completed his BS and MS in electrical engineering at the Manchester College of Technology and a PhD in theoretical physics at Bristol University. [2]

1. Alberty, Robert, A. (2003). Thermodynamic of Biochemical Reactions (Burton, pg. 2). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
2. William Keith Burton (pdf) - Abstract biography by George Wyllie,
3. Giles, Robin. (1964). Mathematical Foundations of Thermodynamics. Pergamon Press.
4. Krebs, Hans A. and Kornberg, H.L. (1957). Energy Transformations in Living Matter - a Survey (with Appendix by K. Burton) (abstract). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

Further reading
● Burton, K. and Krebs, H.A. (1953). “The free-energy changes associated with the individual steps of the tricarbozylic acid cycle, glycolysis and alcoholic fermentation and with the hydrolysis of the pyrophosphate groups of adenosine-triphosphate.” Biochemic. J. Vol. 54, 94.
● Burton, K. and Wilson, T.H. (1953). “The free-energy changes for the reduction of diphosphopyridine nucleotide and the dehydrogenation of L-malate and L-glycerol 1-phosphate.” Biochemic. J. Vol. 54, 86.
● Burton, K. (1955). “The free-energy change associated with the hydrolysis of acetyl coenzyme A.” Biochemic. Journal. Vol. 59, pg. 44.
● Burton, W. Keith. (1966). “Constructive Thermodynamics” (Ѻ), Contributions to Mathematical Logic, Proceedings of the Logic Colloquium, Hanover; in: Contributions to Mathematical Logic (editor: Lev Beklemishev) (pgs. 75-). Elsevier, 2000.

External links
Keith Burton – Wikipedia.

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