At his blog, Chad Orzel asks: Who is the Velvet Underground of science? "The question is a play on the famous comment that only of order a thousand people bought the first Velvet Underground record, but every one of them went on to start a band," he adds. For physics, Orzel names Sadi Carnot, who was influential in thermodynamics. Larry Moran at the Sandwalk takes up the question for molecular biology and he looks to Max Delbrück. Delbrück was one of the founders of the phage school and taught a course on phage genetics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Jim Watson, Franklin Stahl, and Alfred Hershey, among others, were all influenced by Delbrück. "They all got together to contribute to Phage and the Origins of Molecular Biology in 1966," Moran writes. "The book was a Festschrift in honor of Max Delbrück on his 60th birthday."
Oct 08, 2010