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Seymour Benzer, Ph.D.[Physics]

National Medal of Science - Biological Sciences 1982

Physicist, molecular biologist, behavioral biologist (neurogeneticist). Post Pearl Harbor worked in secret wartime project studying semiconducting properties of germanium, work that foreshadowed development of transistor. Functional gene is a linear stretch of DNA with definable boundaries. Stretches of DNA are all linked to each other as adjacent pieces of chromosome.

Defining Moment

Seymour Benzer was a physicist. At Cold Spring Harbor, he took a summer course on phage by Max Delbruck. He gave up physics research for good. Max Delbruck was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1969.

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Name: Seymour Benzer
Birth: 15 October, 1921 New York City
Death: 30 November, 2007 Pasadena, CA
Institution: California Institute of Technology Pasadena,California USA
Award: "For elucidating the fine structure of the gene and unifying the classical and molecular concepts of gene structure and function."

Presented by President Reagan at a White House Ceremony on May 24, 1983.
Age Awarded: 61
Education, Mentors: New Utrecht High School. Brooklyn College, physics & chemistry 1942. Ph.D. Physics, Purdue University, Lafayette, Indiana, 1947. Ph.D. mentor physicist Karl Lark-Horowitz. Research mentor Max Delbruck, Medicine Nobelist, 1969.
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