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Professor Seymour Benzer

Doctor of Science, Purdue University 1968

  • Doctor of Science, Purdue University 1968

Professor Seymour Benzer who received his Ph.D. in 1947 was another star in Purdue's research firmament. He had and continued to play a prominent role in the research program at Purdue. His earlier work had led to the development of the high-inverse-voltage point-contact rectifier and played an important role in the subsequent development of the transistor. By 1949 his interests had turned to biophysics to which he also made significant contributions. During 1948-52, he was a visitor first at Oak Ridge as a bi~ physicist, then for two years at the California Institute of Technology (with Max Delbriick) as a postdoc. Finally, before returning to Purdue, he spent a year at the Pasteur Institute in Paris as a Fulbright Fellow. He has the unusual distinction of having had productive scientific careers in three distinct scientific fields: physics, molecular biology, and behavioral biology (neurogenetics). In 1953 he became Associate Professor of Biology at Purdue, and was promoted to professor in 1958 and to Stuart Distinguished Professor of Biophysics in 1961. In 1967 he accepted a professorship at the California Institute of Technology and in 1975 became the James Griffin Boswell Professor of Neuroscience at that institution. His many honors include membership in the National Academy of Sciences (at the age of 40) and of the Royal Society of London, and the prestigious Wolf Prize for Medicine (Israel, 1991).

Excerpted from the article The War Period by Gartenhaus,Tubis, Cassidy, and Bray written for Purdue Physics

Last Updated: Apr 29, 2016 3:46 PM

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