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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.


Seymour Benzer’s parents immigrated to the US 10 years before he was born from the Jewish shtetl of Sochaczew near Warsaw.

Upon his father persuading him to marry, he married his college sweetheart Dorothy (“Dotty”) Vlosky, a nurse, the day he moved from New York to Indiana to pursue graduate studies. They had two daughters Martha and Barb. Later Dotty passed away due to cancer.

After some years he married Carol Miller. She was a neuropathologist at the University of Southern California. They had a son, Alex.

Photo: Wiki

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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