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Erwin Chargaff

Born: 11-Aug-1905
Birthplace: Chernovtsy, Ukraine
Died: 20-Jun-2002
Location of death: New York City
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Biologist, Chemist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Biochemist at Columbia University

Biochemist Erwin Chargaff's experiments showed that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), not amino acids in the cell, is the carrier of genetic information. His work completely changed the study of biology and heredity, and provided the foundation for the work of Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins. Chargaff also conducted research into lipids (molecules which form fats), plant nucleotides, the metabolism of amino acids and inositol, and the enzymes that cause blood coagulation. In his later years, Chargaff became an outspoken critic against genetic engineering, which he described as "practicing biology without a license".

Father: Hermann Chargaff (banker)
Mother: Rosa Silberstein Chargaff
Wife: Vera Broido Chargaff (b. 1907, m. 1928, one son)
Son: Thomas Chargaff

    High School: Maximiliangynasium, Vienna, Austria
    University: DSc Chemistry, University of Vienna (1928)
    Scholar: Yale University (1928-30)
    Teacher: Public Health, University of Berlin (1930-33)
    Teacher: Pasteur Institute in Paris (1933-35)
    Teacher: Biochemistry, Columbia University (1935-52)
    Professor: Biochemistry, Columbia University (1952-74)

    Pasteur Medal 1949
    Carl Neuberg Medal 1958
    Charles Leopold Mayer Prize 1963
    Heineken Prize 1964
    Gregor Mendel Medal 1973
    National Medal of Science 1974
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Cancer Society
    American Philosophical Society
    National Academy of Sciences
    New York Academy of Sciences
    Naturalized US Citizen 1940
    Austrian Ancestry
    Ukrainian Ancestry

Author of books:
The Nucleic Acids: Chemistry and Biology (1955)
Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life Before Nature (1978, memoir)


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