It wasn’t until 1957 when scientists earned special access to the molecular third dimension.
After 22 years of grueling experimentation, John Kendrew of Cambridge University finally uncovered the 3D structure of a protein. It was a twisted blueprint of myoglobin, the stringy chain of 154 amino acids that helps infuse our muscles with oxygen. As revolutionary as this discovery was, Kendrew didn’t quite open up the protein architecture floodgates. During the next decade, fewer than a dozen more would be identified.