Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1952
Selman A. Waksman

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Selman A. Waksman - Facts

Selman Abraham Waksman

Selman Abraham Waksman

Born: 22 July 1888, Priluka (now Nova Pryluka), Russian Empire (now Ukraine)

Died: 16 August 1973, Hyannis, MA, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA

Prize motivation: "for his discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic effective against tuberculosis"

Field: anti-bacterial agents, bacteriology

Prize share: 1/1


After Robert Koch discovered that tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium, the hunt for a cure began. In 1939 Selman Waksman and colleagues began systematic studies of how microorganisms in soil affect tubercle bacteria. They found that their growth was impeded by another bacterium, Streptomyces grisues. In 1943 Selman Waksman's colleague, Albert Schatz, isolated streptomycin from this bacterium, which proved an effective medicine against tuberculosis.

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