(b. Atlanta, Georgia, 26 January, 1881; d. Washington, D. C., 27 December 1952)
Hudson’s career was spent almost entirely in governmental laboratories in Washington, where he trained many followers in the chemistry of the sugars. He was born of early American stock, spent his youth in Mobile, Alabama, and received the B.S. (1901), Ph.D. (physics, 1907), and Hon. D.Sc. (1947) degrees from Princeton University. His early interest was in physical chemistry, which he studied with Nernst at Göttingen and van’t Hoff at Berlin. From 1928 to 1951 Hudson served in the National Institutes of Health.
Hudson and his many associates developed the stereochemistry of the anomeric sugar centers, beginning with his rules of isorotation, useful for allocation of anomeric form when proper substituents are present. This development was followed by a rule establishing the point of ring closure in aldonolactones. Hudson demonstrated that enzymic reactions follow the laws of mass action and he showed that the D-fructose unit of sucrose possesses an unusual form. He established the equation expressing the acid-base dependency of the rate of D-glucose mutarotation and from this calculated an accepted value for the ionic dissociation of water. He correlated anomeric configurations through periodate oxidation, calculated rotatory powers of unisolated anomers by the principle of maximum solubility, and synthesized the (1 → 4)-β-d-linked disaccharides lactose and cellobiose. Hudson prepared many sugars and their acetates in pure anomeric forms and with the d-galactose pentaacetates, established that a sugar could exist in more than one ring form.
Hudson received many awards and he was elected to membership in distinguished scientific bodies in the United States and abroad. In his relaxed moments he was a noted bon vivant and raconteur, but when at work he was an exacting person, holding himself and his associates to high standards.
The obituary by Lyndon F. Small and Melville L. Wolfrom in Biographical Memoirs. National Academy of Sciences, 32 (1958), 181–220, contains a bibliography of Hudson’s publications, including posthumous works, from 1902–1955.
Melville l. Wolfrom