Science: Muscle Man

Hungarian-born Dr. Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (in English, St. George), professor of biochemistry, is a Nobel Prizewinner who is fascinated by muscles. "That a soft jelly should suddenly . . . change its shape and lift a thousand times its own weight . . ." he says, "is little short of miraculous." In the current Scientific American, Szent-Gyorgyi explains the latest discoveries about this miracle of muscle action.

Muscles, he says, are chemical engines that get their energy from a compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Their active portions are submicroscopic fibers made of a peculiar protein called actomyosin. When the protein is linked with...

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