Selman A. Waksman


Selman Abraham Waksman

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Selman Abraham Waksman
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1952

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

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 Waksman's colleague, Albert Schatz, isolated streptomycin from this bacterium, which proved an effective medicine against tuberculosis.

To cite this section
MLA style: Selman A. Waksman – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2024. Wed. 19 Jun 2024. <>

Back to top Back To Top Takes users back to the top of the page

Nobel Prizes and laureates

Eleven laureates were awarded a Nobel Prize in 2023, for achievements that have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind. Their work and discoveries range from effective mRNA vaccines and attosecond physics to fighting against the oppression of women.

See them all presented here.

Explore prizes and laureates

Look for popular awards and laureates in different fields, and discover the history of the Nobel Prize.