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Emmett W. Chappelle: Biochemist, Photobiologist, Astrochemist


Emmett W. Chappelle was born in Phoenix, Arizona on October 25, 1925. He received a Bachelor of Science in 1950 from the University of California, In 1954 Chappelle received a Master of Science from the University of Washington. From 1950-1953 Mr. Chappelle was appointed an Instructor in Biochemistry at the Meharry Medical College. Between 1955 and 1958 Chappelle served as a Research Associate at Stanford University; later, Emmett Chappelle was appointed Scientist and Biochemist for the Research Institute of Advanced Studies at Stanford University, from 1958-1963. Between 1963 and 1966 he worked as a Biochemist for Hazelton Laboratories, then as Exobiologist (1966-1970) and Astrochemist (1970-1973). Chappelle served as a Biochemist for the division of Research Center for Space Exploration. Beginning in 1977, Edward Chappelle began working with Goddard Space Flight Center as a Remote Sensing Scientist..

Magazine Articles

    Peter Sullivan.”The Nitrogen-Pumped Dye Laser In The 1990s.”

Applications Handbook Supplement; Technical.

Lasers & Optronics.

    (March, 1991) 10(3): 74.

Miniaturization of the nitrogen/dye laser, combined with fiberoptic sensor technology, has allowed the implementation of field systems for a variety of applications. Emmett Chappelle of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center has been studying the die-back in red spruce trees, believed to be the result of acid rain. He has been able to correlate acid-rain damage to the fluorescence spectrum for chlorophyll. The emission wavelength for chlorophyll is 680 nm, so a desirable excitation wavelength is approximately 630 nm, well within the rangeof the nitrogen/dye laser combination.

In a similar situation, the understanding of the distribution of marine organisms and the processes that affect these distributions is essential to understanding the marine food chain and managing marine sources. The nutritionalstate of photoplankton can be determined from spectral characteristics. A group at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science has developed a three-color laser fluorimeter for shipboard applications encompassing two nitrogen/dve lasers. This system permits the measurement of photo-plankton pigments under static and flowing conditions.

Light of firefly has sparked growing interest in luminescence as technique in medical and biochemical research. Areas in which technique, known as ‘firefly system’ noted. Firefly system involves use of bug’s 2 light-producing chemicals, luciferin and luciferase, to test for presence of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), an energy storage compound contained in every living cell. Work done by Dr. William D McElroy led to discovery that amount of light generated is directly proportionate to level of ATP present. Considered test for life itself. NASA’s interest in using firefly system in Viking mission as test for life on Mars noted. Drs. Emmett Chappelle and Grace Picciolo have developed method for immediate detection of bacteria in water. This has led to research in dealing with speedy diagnosis of urinary infections and follow-up work testing effect of various antibiotics on particular infections. Dr. Marlene DeLuca and Alan Antonik have adapted system for related work in measuring creatine phospho-kinase (CPK) in bloodstream.

New York Times Monday (August 25, 1975),p. 25, Column 4.


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