Skip to main content

Biographical Memoirs Volume 83 (2003) / Chapter Skim
Currently Skimming:

Selman Abraham Waksman
Pages 320-343

The Chapter Skim interface presents what we've algorithmically identified as the most significant single chunk of text within every page in the chapter.
Select key terms on the right to highlight them within pages of the chapter.


From page 321...
... His father macle a moclest living tencling en cl renting some small houses he owned. His mother was a capable manager of her own ciry goocis business, clevelopecl while the father was away on years of military service.
From page 322...
... his father were aware of a big worIcl outside, with larger projects. By the age of 20, after his mother's cleath, he surrenclerecl his legacy in his father's modest house properties and moved to the larger centers, Zhitomir en cl Odessa.
From page 323...
... The move to California was also a wocicling trip following his marriage to Deborah Mitnik, an accomplishecl vocalist en cl artist from his hometown who was affectionately known in the family as Bobili. She became a guicle en cl spur for his cultural advances in the Unitecl States en cl internationally.
From page 324...
... In time he wouIcl redefine the bacteriology department as one of soil microbiology. Eventually his interest in natural chemical processes lecl him to studies of some mollifications an investigator couIcl impose on those soil processes.
From page 325...
... In teaching the lore of soil microbiology Waksman hacl occasion to describe to the students the inhibitory interactions between organisms in the soil, probably presenting them as examples of "environmental" influence, complex en cl variable. Dubos became, by his nature, a thoughtful student in this field!
From page 326...
... So was overcome a paralysis that hac! set in following the earlier somewhat analogous discovery by Alexancler Fleming of an acciclental contamination of bacterial cultures by an airborne inhibitory moist Producing penicillin)
From page 327...
... to have animal tests en cl clinical trials carried out at the Mayo Clinic to expedite the possible use in treating tuberculosis. Of the 20 percent of license funcis accruing in his own name, onehalf was later consigned to a foundation for research support.
From page 328...
... appointments to the French Academy of Science en cl the Legion of Honor. In the Unitecl States he received many awards, inclucIing a Passano Foundation Awarc!
From page 329...
... Asia. The Nobel Prize did not diminish Waksman's conscientious effort to convey the knowlecige en cl insight of careful scientific work.
From page 330...
... uncler sole authorship en cl cleliverecl with inspiring enthusiasm en cl a consiclerable degree of pricle. A similar pricle, cleliverecl nevertheless with sober modesty, characterizes his autobiography (Waksman, 1954)
From page 331...
... There was one unfriencITy legal action, brought by former coworker Albert Schatz, who cleclinecl to surrender some of the rights in streptomycin clevelopment to Waksman, clemancIing personal payment for his participation. Let us suppose the case originated within familiar bouncis: the pricle of an able young associate having overcome technical obstacles en c!
From page 332...
... Such a motivation showocl strongly in his grant efforts as well as in membership proposals for the National Academy of ret ~ sciences. What stancis out above all else is that coming from a moclest rural background, Selman Waksman felt grateful and with great humanity wanted to repay society by thoughtful en cl constructive contributions to science en cl health and, furthermore, by freely reporting them to the public.
From page 333...
... most of the annual income from the patents for streptomycin and neomycin in support of scientific endeavor. Our board of about five or six microbiologists usually met at Essex House on Central Park South in New York City for a congenial clinner en cl work session.
From page 334...
... A subsidy for biological illustrations in color couIcl often be raised, even en cl especially for little known microorganisms. Part of our funcis might be assigned to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the National Academy of Sciences, en cl sometimes to the Weizmann or Technion institutes in Israel for distribution in support of programs they conducted.
From page 335...
... Of course, a favorite intention of most clonors is to give "catalytic" support to a project that seems just to be emerging from obscurity. I think this was at times accomplishecl by influential efforts of such members of the Board of Trustees as Harry Eagle, Kenneth Thimann, or Harlyn Halvorson to ferret out such opportunities.
From page 336...
... At the Nobel ceremony in Stockholm's Town Hall, in ~ 952, seated between the Swedish King and his brother, her formal gown got caught up on the King's chair and he sat down on a fold of her skirt. Discomfited up on a ciais!
From page 337...
... such work as I was familiar with at Coic! Spring Harbor, but probably typically tentative en cl cautious ones about people.
From page 338...
... Company, admiring the combination of iclealism en cl great practical sense that hacl enablecl Waksman to clevelop the effective interaction with industry that brought out the fruits of the scientific work. Sir Ernest Chain, chemist of the penicillin Nobel Prize winners, expressed a passionate European's recognition of the arduous career that hac!
From page 339...
... Many family archives are held presently by Byron Waksman at 14 Cowdry Lane, Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The National Academy of Sciences Library also maintains a Selman Waksman archival file.
From page 340...
... An 80th birthday jubilee volume that includes significant papers and listing of honors, awards, and publications up to that date.
From page 341...
... Sur la nature des organismes qui decomposent la cellulose dans les terres arables.
From page 342...
... Chaetomin, a new antibiotic substance produced by Chaetomium cochliodes.
From page 343...
... Neomycin, a new antibiotic active against streptomycin-resistant bacteria, including tuberculosis organisms. Science 109:305-307.


This material may be derived from roughly machine-read images, and so is provided only to facilitate research.
More information on Chapter Skim is available.