Betsy Middleton and John Clark Sutherland

Since their first date in 1961, Betsy Blake Middleton and John Clark Sutherland were inseparable. As undergrads majoring in different fields – biology for Betsy and physics for John – they studied together, and as professionals, they synchronized their careers. Betsy’s biology rubbed off on John, inspiring him to apply physics to biological questions. John’s physics enabled Betsy’s bioanalytical work. 

Betsy and John were partners, not only in life, but also in the scientific adventure they pursued with relentless curiosity and passion for discovery and invention. Betsy’s research focused on radiation-induced damage to DNA and its repair, as well as cell biology. John focused on spectroscopy, pioneering synchrotron radiation circular dichroism spectroscopy. Their research naturally overlapped, as John’s knack for inventing instruments and physical methods allowed Betsy to systematically address biological questions. 

Their life together as incisive, collaborative, and path-breaking scientists is inspiring. Through the Betsy Middleton and John Clark Sutherland Dean’s Chair in the College of Sciences, their legacy continues.  

Home page photo courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Date Range: 1961 - 2017