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Professor Robert Eisenthal
Professor Robert Eisenthal

Internal News - 06 June 2006

Professor receives praise for “smash hit” research paper

A University of Bath professor has been praised by one of the UK’s leading science journals for a “smash hit” research paper he published over 30 years ago.

Professor Robert Eisenthal, from the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, published the paper, on a new graphical procedure for estimating the rate of enzyme reactions, with Athel Cornish-Bowden from the University of Birmingham in June1974.

This procedure offered several practical and statistical advantages over other methods available at that time, and has since clocked up almost 1,500 citations in scientific journals.

The Biochemist magazine, which is the house journal of the Biochemical Society, highlighted the paper as part of its ‘classic papers’ centenary celebrations saying: “Most readers probably already know that the direct linear plot is a smash hit in biochemistry.”

Professor Eisenthal has worked at the University of Bath since 1967 and is still employed by the University on a part-time basis.

“It is very gratifying to find that work I did that long ago is still recognised today,” said Professor Eisenthal.

“I came up with the idea after trying to work out a better way of teaching enzyme kinetics to undergraduates.

“I saw how you could plot experimental data in this new way and although I could see it was much clearer and simpler than the other methods we had available at the time, I wasn’t sure certain it was any better.

“George Lunt had just arrived at the University at that time, and he suggested I contact one of his former colleagues at Birmingham.

“So we set up the collaboration, published the paper and the citations are still rolling in, which means people are still using the procedure and still find it useful for their research.”