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Biochemistry PhD among most cited authors - ever

Marion Bradford, a PhD student in the department of biochemistry from the 1970's, came to our attention recently as the focus of one of the most intriguing stories of the year: a paper he published back then on what is known as the Bradford protein assay, is one of the most cited scientific studies in history:

According to analysis published in the journal Current Science, a 1976 paper by Marion M. Bradford, a University of Georgia biochemist, has been cited an incredible 157,683 times, one of just three papers to achieve more than 100,000 citations.

To put that in perspective, if you were to print out the first page of every paper listed on Thomson Reuters’ Web of Science and stack them up, the pile would nearly reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, Nature reported in November 2014. Only the top 1.5m (4.9ft) would have 1,000 citations or more.

Dr Bradford’s paper, published in the journal Analytical Biochemistry, explained how chemists could quickly quantify the amount of protein in a sample, but he told Times Higher Education that he did not view it as his most significant contribution to science.

“My personal best work is probably in the patent literature in the area of chemicals from renewable resources,” said Dr Bradford, who left the University of Georgia in 1983 for a career in industry at A.E. Staley, the manufacturer bought by British sugar firm Tate & Lyle in 1988.

A delightful story and we were so happy to be able to re-establish contact with Dr. Bradford, who is now retired but was glad to share these reflections about the paper and his career, as well as this recent photo.

Photo of Marion Bradford by Bill Elder.

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