Alexander Rich was a biophysicist and “pre-eminent researcher in structural molecular biology—a field that seeks to understand the molecular architecture of living organisms—[who] made major contributions to understanding the relationships between the structures and functions of RNA and DNA molecules.
James Watson and Francis Crick first described the right-handed, double helical structure of DNA in 1953. In 1979, Rich led a team of MIT researchers who startled the world of structural biology with the announcement that they had found a ‘left-handed’ form of DNA. The new form, coiled in the shape of a left-handed screw, was called Z-DNA because of its zigzag backbone, but its significance remained a mystery for many years.” — Anne Trafton
Full text at MIT News
Obituary in The Boston Globe