JEWISH NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS IN PHYSIOLOGY OR MEDICINE
(27% of world total, 39% of US total)JINFO.ORG
Listed below are recipients of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine who were, or are, Jewish (or of half- or three-quarters-Jewish descent, as noted). The percentages given above are those corresponding to the names that appear explicitly on the list below (i.e., the percentages do not include any of the "others" discussed in the footnotes).
- Paul Ehrlich # (1908)
- Elie Metchnikoff #,1 (1908)
- Robert Bárány # (1914)
- Otto Meyerhof # (1922)
- Karl Landsteiner # (1930)
- Otto Warburg #,2 (1931)
- Otto Loewi # (1936)
- Joseph Erlanger # (1944)
- Sir Ernst Chain # (1945)
- Hermann Muller #,3 (1946)
- Gerty Cori 4 (1947)
- Tadeus Reichstein # (1950)
- Selman Waksman # (1952)
- Sir Hans Krebs # (1953)
- Fritz Lipmann # (1953)
- Joshua Lederberg # (1958)
- Arthur Kornberg # (1959)
- Konrad Bloch # (1964)
- Francois Jacob # (1965)
- André Lwoff # (1965)
- George Wald # (1967)
- Marshall Nirenberg # (1968)
- Salvador Luria # (1969)
- Julius Axelrod # (1970)
- Sir Bernard Katz # (1970)
- Gerald Edelman # (1972)
- David Baltimore # (1975)
- Howard Temin # (1975)
- Baruch Blumberg # (1976)
- Rosalyn Yalow # (1977)
- Daniel Nathans # (1978)
- Baruj Benacerraf # (1980)
- Sir John Vane 5 (1982)
- César Milstein # (1984)
- Michael Brown # (1985)
- Joseph Goldstein # (1985)
- Stanley Cohen # (1986)
- Rita Levi-Montalcini # (1986)
- Gertrude Elion # (1988)
- Harold Varmus # (1989)
- Edmond Fischer 6 (1992)
- Alfred G. Gilman 7 (1994)
- Martin Rodbell 8 (1994)
- Stanley Prusiner 9 (1997)
- Robert Furchgott 10 (1998)
- Paul Greengard 11 (2000)
- Eric Kandel 12 (2000)
- Sydney Brenner 13 (2002)
- H. Robert Horvitz 14 (2002)
- Richard Axel 15 (2004)
- Andrew Z. Fire 16 (2006)
- Bruce Beutler 17 (2011)
- Ralph Steinman 18 (2011)
- James Rothman 19 (2013)
- Randy Schekman 20 (2013)
- Michael Rosbash 21 (2017)
- Others 22
# Encyclopaedia Judaica (1997 CD ROM edition). (This source was listed by the Library Journal as one of its "Top 50 Reference Works of the Millennium.")
1. Jewish mother, non-Jewish father.
2. Jewish father, non-Jewish mother.
3. Jewish mother, non-Jewish father.
4. The most comprehensive biographical portrait of Gerty Cori is contained in Sharon McGrayne's Nobel Prize Women in Science (Birch Lane, New York, NY, 1993). McGrayne's account is based on interviews with more than a dozen of Cori's close friends and associates, with the details of her religious background obtained from interviews with Prof. Viktor Hamburger and Ann Cori. According to McGrayne, Cori was Jewish, but converted to Roman Catholicism prior to her marriage to Carl Cori in order to lessen the objections of his family, who felt that marriage to a Jewish woman would doom his prospects for an academic career in Europe. This is in close agreement with the note on Gerty Cori published by Joseph Larner in Biographical Memoirs, Volume 61 (National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1992, p. 112). Further confirmation can be found in the interview with Nobel laureate Arthur Kornberg that appears in Candid Science II by István Hargittai (Imperial College Press, London, 2002, p. 58).
5. Jewish father, non-Jewish mother, according to an interview published in Candid Science II by István Hargittai (Imperial College Press, London, 2002, p. 562).
6. Jewish father, non-Jewish mother, according to a follow-up dispatch issued by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) several days after publication of its October 14, 1992 story on that year's Nobel Prizes, written by Tom Tugend. Fischer has been a member of the Board of Governors of the Weizmann Institute.
7. See interview in Candid Science II, by István Hargittai (Imperial College Press, London, 2002, p. 245).
8. See second paragraph of autobiography: http://www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/1994/rodbell-autobio.html.
9. See second paragraph of autobiography: http://www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/1997/prusiner-autobio.html.
10. The Furchgotts were one of the most prominent Jewish families in Charleston, SC, where Robert was born; see http://www.cofc.edu/~jhc/pages/fwfchas.html. See also the interview published in Candid Science II by István Hargittai (Imperial College Press, London, 2002, pp. 588-589).
11. Although born to Jewish parents, Greengard's mother died in childbirth and he was raised as a Christian by a non-Jewish stepmother; see first two paragraphs of autobiography: http://www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/2000/greengard-autobio.html and the interview in Candid Science V: Conversations with Famous Scientists, by Balazs Hargittai and István Hargittai (Imperial College Press, London, 2005, pp. 650-653).
12. See http://www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/2000/kandel-autobio.html.
13. See second paragraph of autobiography: http://www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/2002/brenner-autobio.html.
14. See second paragraph of autobiography: http://www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/2002/horvitz-autobio.html.
15. See Encyclopaedia Judaica, Second Edition (Thomson Gale, Detroit, 2007, Vol. 2, pp. 755-756).
16. Son of Dr. Philip and Janet (née Sherak) Fire [see entry for Philip Fire in American Men & Women of Science: 22nd Edition (Thomson Gale, Detroit, 2005, Volume 2, C-F, p. 1154)]. Philip Fire is a past president (1951) of the MIT chapter of the national Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi; see http://www.mit.edu/activities/aepi/OLD/history5.shtml. See also http://www.mit.edu/activities/aepi/OLD/index.shtml. Janet Fire is the daughter of the late William and Rose (née Goldstein) Sherak, who were both Russian-Jewish immigrants to the United States.
17. Son of Ernest and Brondelle (née Fleisher) Beutler. Ernest Beutler was a German-Jewish refugee who later became a distinguished American hematologist and biomedical scientist (1975 Gairdner Foundation Award); see Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 11 (Keter, Jerusalem, 1972, p. 1200). Brondelle Beutler was the daughter of Harry and Mary (Krasne) Fleisher, both of whom were Russian-Jewish immigrants to the United States. See also the section entitled "My background" in http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2011/beutler-bio.html.
18. Son of Irving and Nettie (Takefman) Steinman. See Montreal Gazette obituary notices for Steinman's maternal grandfather Nathan Takefman. See also the first paragraph of http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2011/steinman_bio.pdf.
19. According to a 12 July 1971 New York Times marriage announcement, Rothman's marriage to Ruth Greifinger was conducted by Rabbi Lewis Levitsky. His parents were Dr. Martin and Gloria Rothman. The grave of his father, whose antecedents were Russian Jews, is listed in the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry. Gloria Rothman's parents were Sol (or Saul) and Sally Hartnick, whose antecedents were Austrian and Polish Jews, respectively. See also the last paragraph of http://www.laskerfoundation.org/awards/2002_b_presentation.htm.
20. In a Lasker Foundation interview, Schekman states (2:00 - 2:10): "My grandparents came from Eastern Europe and immigrated separately to a small Jewish community in Minnesota, of all places." His parents were Alfred Israel and Esther (née Bader) Schekman. See also the last paragraph of http://www.laskerfoundation.org/awards/2002_b_presentation.htm.
21. See "Clockwork Genes: Discoveries in Biological Time," which states on p. 10: "Rosbash's parents fled Nazi Germany in 1938, 'and my mother went from a wealthy family to cleaning toilets in New York City before my father found a job.' His father was a cantor, a Jewish clergyman who sings or chants prayers; his mother had earlier been forced out of medical school when the Nazi government expelled Jews from German universities."
22. Willem Einthoven (1926), whose name appears on several Jewish lists, had a Jewish paternal grandfather, but based on the biography by H. Snellen (Willem Einthoven, Kluwer, Boston, MA, 1995), it appears unlikely that any of his other grandparents were Jewish. Karl von Frisch (1973) appears to have had a Jewish maternal grandmother: see, e.g., the ninth paragraph of http://cabinetmagazine.org/issues/25/raffles.php. Other names that have appeared on such lists include those of Erwin Neher (1991), Bert Sakmann (1991), Richard Roberts (1993), Phillip Sharp (1993), and Edward Lewis (1995), none of whom appear to be of Jewish descent.
We had previously listed Herbert Gasser (1944), based on information found in several sources, but have been unable to independently confirm that information and have, consequently, removed his name. This apparent misidentification may have originated in the misreading of a 12 December 1944 Jewish Telegraphic Agency dispatch entitled "Jewish Scientists Receive Three of Six Nobel Prizes Awarded in New York Ceremony." The three Jewish scientists were Joseph Erlanger (medicine, 1944), I. I. Rabi (physics, 1944), and Otto Stern (physics, 1943). The second paragraph of the story, however, opens with the words: "The three Jewish winners are Dr. Joseph Erlanger, who shared the 1944 prize for physiology and medicine with Dr. Herbert Gasser, head of the Rockefeller Institutes for Medical Research ...," which could conceivably have been misconstrued as implying that Gasser was also Jewish. We had also previously listed Andrew Schally (1977), based on i) his statement that "I was fortunate to survive the holocaust while living among the Jewish-Polish Community in Roumania. I used to speak Polish, Roumanian, Yiddish..." (the term "the holocaust" being generally understood to refer specifically to the attempted extermination of European Jewry by the Nazis); ii) his membership in the World Jewish Academy of Sciences; and iii) several published references [e.g., The Timetables of Jewish History, by Judah Gribetz (Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, 1993, p. 634) and Jews and Medicine, by Frank Heynick (KTAV, Hoboken, NJ, 2002, p. 574)]. This genealogy, however, clearly shows Schally's background to be predominantly Polish, and not Jewish.
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