The Physics of Viruses - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9781483233024, 9781483270920

The Physics of Viruses

1st Edition

Authors: Ernest C. Pollard
eBook ISBN: 9781483270920
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 1st January 1953
Page Count: 242
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The Physics of Viruses presents what is known about viruses from the viewpoint of a physicist. In so doing, a major aim has proved to be the description of viruses, their shape, and structure. Rather surprisingly, definite shapes and structures are emerging, and it is with a heightened sense of excitement that the hoped-for simplicity and symmetry are beginning to be found.
The book contains eight chapters and opens with a discussion of the nature of viruses and their relation to physics. Subsequent chapters present studies on the size, shape, and hydration of viruses; the effects of ionizing radiation on viruses, thermal inactivation of viruses, biological effects of ultraviolet light, sonic and osmotic effects on viruses, and virus genetics and multiplication. The account given here should interest not only the physicist but that growing body of students who admit to being virologists as well. There is no doubt that the processes of viruses are in some way the processes of biology, so that the fundamental actions of biology may well be clarified by thinking about how viruses perform their work.

Table of Contents


I. The Nature of Viruses and Their Relation to Physics


Outline of Virology

Virus Multiplication

Size and Shape of Viruses

Mutation of Viruses

Mutual Interference of Viruses

Virus Attenuation After Multiple Passage

Chemical Composition of Viruses

Virus Serology


Purified Virus Preparations

Virus Assay

Origin of Viruses

Physics and the Study of Viruses

II. The Size, Shape, and Hydration of Viruses

Optical Microscopy

Electron Microscopy


Observations of the Motion of Viruses



Sedimentation Technique

Diffusion-Constant Measurement During Sedimentation

Hydrated Partial Specific Volume


Asymmetric Particles

Examples of the Use of Virus Motion Studies

X-Ray Diffraction Applied to Viruses

Small-Angle X-Ray Scattering by Viruses

Picture of a Virus

Identity of Physical Particle and Infectious Unit

Virus Dimensions

III. Ionizing Radiation And Viruses

Nature of Energy Loss by Fast Charged Particles

Space Distribution of Primary Ionizations

Experimental Methods and Some Results

Analysis of Bombardment Results

The Action of X-Rays

Secondary Radiation Effects

Summary of Utility of Radiation Studies

Results of Infectivity Studies

Combined Thermal and Ionizing-Radiation Action on a Virus

Structural Deductions

Varied Effects of X-Radiation on Bacteriophage

Structural Inferences from Radiation Studies

IV. Thermal Inactivation of Viruses

Outline of the Theory of Thermal Inactivation

Thermal Inactivation of Viruses

Inactivation as a Function of pH

Pressure Effects on Thermal Inactivation

Conclusions from Thermal-Inactivation Studies

V. The Surface Of Viruses

Surface Functions of Viruses


Polypeptide Attachment

Virus Serology

Neutralization of Infectivity

Surface Inactivation by Antibody

Serological Inactivation of Viruses

Thermal Inactivation of Serological Affinity


Nature of the Virus Surface

VI. Action of Ultraviolet Light on Viruses

Molecular Absorption of Ultraviolet Light

Absorption by Some Definite Molecules

The Absorption Spectrum of Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Absorption Spectra of Other Viruses

Action Spectra

Infectivity and Hemagglutination Action Spectra of Influenza Virus

Action Spectra for Different Viruses

Quantum Yield

Multiplicity Reactivation after Ultraviolet Treatment

Photoreactivation of Bacteriophage

Summary and Conclusions from Action Spectra

VII. Sonic and Osmotic Effects on Viruses

Pressures Developed


Sonic Irradiation Procedures

Sonic Effects on Viruses

Osmotic Effects on Viruses

VIII. Virus Genetics, Virus Multiplication, and Virus Physics

Virus Recombination and Virus Genetics

Bacterial Virus Multiplication

Radiophosphorous Studies of Phage

Summary of Pertinent Facts about Viruses

Description of Present Knowledge of Virus Multiplication

Description of a Virus

The Energy Turnover in the Host

Forces Operative in Virus Multiplication

Ionic Atmosphere, or Double-Layer Forces

Van der Waals Forces between Macromolecules

Fluctuating Proton Charge Forces

Potential Energy Diagrams for Two Macromolecules

Author Index

Subject Index


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© Academic Press 1953
Academic Press
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About the Author

Ernest C. Pollard

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