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It’s Max Delbrucks’ birthday

My freshman year, I took a biology class taught by Delbrück. It was an introduction to biology sort of course and we often met at his house, if I recall correctly. 

And talked about slime molds, which was his active area of research at the time. 

by Matthew Cobb

As Jerry pointed out earlier, the scientist Max Delbrück was born 110 years ago today. Because many readers will never have heard of him, Jerry asked me to sketch his life. Here you are:

Max Delbrück (1906-1981) was a key figure in the history of post-war genetics, pioneering the molecular investigation of viruses, and winning the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1969 “for discoveries concerning the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses”  Born in Germany, Delbrück trained as a physicist and worked in Copenhagen with Niels Bohr on quantum mechanics before turning to biology in the 1930s. In 1935, together with the Russian geneticist Nikolai Timoféeff-Ressovsky and the radiation physicist Karl G. Zimmer, Delbrück published a paper in German entitled “On the Nature of Gene Mutation and Gene Structure,” known subsequently as the “Three-Man Paper.”

Image: Pat David  (Yes, that was a favorite scene from Young Frankenstein.)

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