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George Wald

George WaldBorn: 18-Nov-1906
Birthplace: New York, NY
Died: 12-Apr-1997
Location of death: Cambridge, MA
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Jewish
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Biologist, Activist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Physiology of the retina

Working with Nobel laureates Otto Warburg and Paul Karrer, George Wald was the first scientist to identify Vitamin A in the retina. Later, at Harvard, he investigated the three different types of retinal cone cells, and showed that each cells' reaction to color is brought about by the presence of three different protein pigments. For this work Wald was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology in 1967, with Haldan K. Hartline and Ragnar Granit.

Wald once said, "Science goes from question to question; big questions, and little, tentative answers. The questions as they age grow ever broader, the answers are seen to be more limited."

After winning his Nobel honors, Wald used his newfound celebrity to speak out against the Vietnam War, the nuclear arms race, and nuclear power. "A Generation in Search of a Future", a 1969 speech he delivered at an anti-war rally and scientists' strike at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was reprinted in such major papers as the Boston Globe, Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle, and became popular as a long-playing album.

Father: Isaac Wald
Mother: Ernestine Rosenmann
Wife: Frances Kingsley (div.)
Wife: Ruth Hubbard (biochemist, m. 1958)
Son: Michael Wald
Son: David Wald
Son: Elijah Wald (singer-songwriter)
Daughter: Deborah Wald

    High School: Brooklyn Technical High School, New York, NY (1922)
    University: BS, New York University (1927)
    University: PhD Zoology, Columbia University (1932)
    Scholar: Biology, Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, Heidelberg (1932-33)
    Scholar: Biology, University of Zürich (1933)
    Scholar: Physiology, University of Chicago (1933-34)
    Teacher: Biochemical Sciences, Harvard University (1934-35)
    Teacher: Biology, Harvard University (1935-48)
    Professor: Biology, Harvard University (1948-77)
    Professor: Biochemistry, University of California (1956)

    Lasker Award 1953
    Rumford Prize 1959
    Guggenheim Fellowship (1963-64)
    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1967 (with Haldan K. Hartline and Ragnar Granit)
    National Academy of Sciences 1950
    American Philosophical Society 1958
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Chemical Society
    American Philosophical Society 1958
    American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    National Academy of Sciences 1950
    National Research Council Fellowship (1932-34)
    Optical Society of America
    Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society
    Austrian Ancestry Paternal
    Polish Ancestry Paternal
    Bavarian Ancestry Maternal
    German Ancestry Maternal

Author of books:
Twenty-Six Afternoons of Biology: An Introductory Laboratory Manual (1962)
Don't Reform the Draft -- Get Rid of It (1967)
To Repossess America (1972)
The End of Life (1973)


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