Thursday, February 07, 2008

In Memorium: Joshua Lederberg

I'm chairing a UNESCO committee on how to improve global
Internet communications for science; help third-world people
get onto the Net so they can be part of the process.

Joshua Lederberg

Joshua Lederberg, 82, a Nobel Prize winner for his work in bacterial genetics who is known as one of the founders of molecular biology, a discipline that in the past half-century has begun unlocking the secrets of how organisms live and reproduce, died Feb. 2 of pneumonia at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York.

Dr. Lederberg was awarded the Nobel Prize when he was 33 (for work that he began when he was 21 years old), and for the next half century was a leader in the U.S. and international science communities.

He was well known and greatly respected by members of the Board of Directors of Americans for UNESCO. Irv Lerch wrote:
Josh was a great man. Many of us worked with him for years on a variety of international projects. He was the first Chair of the Soros' International Science Foundation and a great friend of UNESCO. His energy was monumental and he maintained a stable of the best students in microbial genetics at Rockefeller until the end. On entering his office, you were obliged to take a doughnut from the ubiquitous bowl of goodies at the entrance. His intervention in government was critical in defining the hazards on the horizon from issues as disparate as global warming to bioterrorism and when his colleagues explained the origins of "yellow rain" in Southeast Asia, he was the first to debunk the canard that the Vietnamese were engaged in biological warfare.
Notably, Dr. Lederberg was a leader in UNESCO's International Advisory Council on Global Scientific Communications (ACOSC), 1995.

Read his address to the:

Joint ICSU Press/UNESCO Expert Conference on
Electronic Publishing in Science
UNESCO, Paris, 19-23 February 1996

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