Donald Caspar is a structural biologist, emeritus professor of biological science at the Florida State University Institute of Molecular Biophysics, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Caspar coined the name ‘Structural Biology’ for the study of the growth and form of living structures from the molecular to macroscopic level and went on to play a major role in the development of this science. Biological molecules conform to the laws of physics and chemistry but are designed by the forces of evolution and functional necessity. Recognition of these facts has driven his science and inspired his insights into the mysteries of biomolecular design. His Ph.D. thesis, on Tobacco Mosaic Virus structure, placed him on a trajectory parallel and intertwined with Rosalind Franklin, whose effect is still felt.
His deep instinct for structural design has formed the basis for his pervasive influence in the field where he remains an inspiration to his students and colleagues and continues to produce insights into the remarkable logic underpinning the function of biomolecular systems.