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François Jacob

François JacobBorn: 17-Jun-1920
Birthplace: Nancy, France
Died: 19-Apr-2013
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Atheist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Doctor

Nationality: France
Executive summary: Operon theory of genetic control

Military service: French Army, 1940-44

Jewish by heredity and upbringing, François Jacob announced shortly after his bar mitzvah that he was an atheist. As World War II swept Europe, he abandoned medical school and worked with the French resistance in London. He later joined the French Army, serving as a medical officer in combat at Fezzan, Libya, Tripolitania, Tunisia, and at the battle of Normandy, where his hands were severely injured. He was given France's highest WWII honor, the Croix de la Libération.

Jacob's injuries precluded his planned career as a surgeon, and he instead became a research biologist. Jacob and Jacques Monod were the first scientists to propose the operon theory, which describes how the E. coli bacterium represses production of enzymes involved in lactose metabolism when lactose is not available. For his investigation of cell physiology and gene structure, Jacob was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1965, sharing the honor with his colleagues Monod and André Lwoff.

Father: Simon Jacob (merchant)
Mother: Thérèse Franck Jacob
Wife: Lise Bloch Jacob (concert pianist)
Son: Pierre Jacob (philosopher, b. 1949)
Son: Laurent Jacob (biologist, b. 1952)
Daughter: Odile Jacob (b. 1952)
Son: Henri Jacob (b. 1954)

    High School: Lycée Carnot, Paris, France (1938)
    Medical School: MD, University of Paris (1947)
    University: MS Biology, University of Paris (1951)
    University: PhD Biology, Sorbonne (1954)
    Scholar: Cellular Genetics, Pasteur Institute in Paris (1950-64)
    Professor: Cellular Genetics, Collège de France (1964-)

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1965 (with André Lwoff and Jacques Monod)
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1964
    American Philosophical Society 1969
    National Academy of Sciences 1969
    Royal Society
    French Ancestry
    Jewish Ancestry

Author of books:
Sexuality and the Genetics of Bacteria (1961, with Elie Wollmann)
The Logic of Life: A History of Heredity (1974)
The Possible & The Actual (1982)
The Statue Within: An Autobiography (1987)
Of Flies, Mice and Men (1998)
Le Siècle du Gène (2003, with Stéphane Schmitt)


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