Rosalyn S. Yalow: Scientific & Biblical Wisdom for the Future


yallow 2.jpgOn 30 May 2011, Rosalyn Sussman Yalow (1921–2011) passed away in New York, NY.

She was a biophysicist known for her development of the radioimmunoassay technique, using an isotope of iodine, ¹²⁵I, attached to tyrosine to measure concentrations of antigens in different body tissues. The 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was co-awarded to Roger Guillemin (b. 1924) and Andrew Schally (b. 1926) “for their discoveries concerning the peptide hormone production of the brain,” with the other half to Prof. Yalow “for the development of radioimmunoassays of peptide hormones.”

From her Nobel Banquet Speech (10 Dec 1977).

If we are to have faith that mankind will survive and thrive on the face of the earth, we must believe that each succeeding generation will be wiser than its progenitors. We transmit to you, the next generation, the total sum of our knowledge. Yours is the responsibility to use it, add to it, and transmit it to your children… We bequeath to you, the next generation, our knowledge but also our problems. While we still live, let us join hands, hearts and minds to work together for their solution so that your world will be better than ours and the world of your children even better.”

In November 1986, Prof. Yalow was invited to deliver a lecture at the New York Historical Society to honor Jewish Nobel Laureates.

9780306457968-ukThrough the ages we have taken pride in being known as the People of the Book. This phrase can be interpreted not only as our having carried the book—our Bible and traditions—throughout history in spite of the Diaspora, persecution and the many travails inflicted by a hostile world, but also as a recognition of the fact that throughout those centuries of tribulations we have continued to honor wisdom and learning… We are delighted that a new group of immigrants can aspire and succeed in the dream that America makes possible.”

Further reading: Straus, Eugene, and John Cameron. Rosalyn Yalow—Nobel Laureate. (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2000), 294 pgs.

Yalow, Rosalyn S. “Nobel Banquet Speech.” Stockholm, SWE. 10 Dec 1977.
Straus, Eugene. Rosalyn Yalow, Nobel Laureate: Her Life and Work in Medicine. (New York, NY: Basic Books, 2000), 247. Partial text also @:
Images: Republic of Mali Stamp (© 2007)Book cover (Perseus Books, 1998).


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