Selman Abraham Waksman
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1952
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."
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.