Walter Gilbert: Noble Prize
in Chemistry Recipient-1980
by Seymour “Sy” Brody
Walter Gilbert is an American Jewish Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1980. He shared this award with Paul Berg and Frederick Sanger.
He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry “developing a rapid relative method for sequencing links in the DNA molecule. This technique allows scientists to define the total chemical structure of any gene.”
He was born on March 21, 1932, in Boston, Massachusetts. His mother, Emma Cohen, was a psychologist, who practiced giving tests to his younger sister and himself. She also educated her children at home for the first few years. His mother took the children to the library very often as they loved to read.
His Father, Richard V. Gilbert, was an economist, who taught at Harvard University. During World War II, he worked for the office of Price Administration in Washington, D.C.
Walter Gilbert graduated with a B.S. in chemistry and physics and his Master’s Degree in physics from Harvard. Gilbert continued his education and went to the University of Cambridge where he received a doctorate degree in mathematics.
He married Celia, who is a poet. They had two children, John Richard and Kate.
He joined the Harvard University faculty in 1958 as lecturer in physics. Through the years, he became an assistant professor of physics in 1959 and associate professor of biophysics in 1964. He became the American Cancer Society professor of molecular biology at Harvard in1972.
Walter Gilbert is currently living in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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Last updated xx April 2007