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[Oswald T. Avery]

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  • Chemistry
  • Medicine


OSWALD THEODORE AVERY October 21, z877--Febrmry 20, ~955 BY A. R. DOCHEZ 0 SWALD THEODORE AVERY was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on October 21, 1877. He came to the United States with his family at an early age, settling in New York City, where he spent all of his active scientific life. He was a man of great simplicity and singleness of purpose, endowed with unusual powers of concentration on those matters of science which aroused his curiosity; and the interest they evoked endured throughout his life. He was by nature somewhat reticent and seldom permitted the ordinary distractions of life to divert him from those scientific problems in which he was so com- pletely immersed. The long list of his achievements which grew in importance to the very end of his life is testimony of his capacity for logical and progressive thinking and for using and developing for his purposes his own tecliniques and those of other sciences, par- ticularly those of biochemistry. Avery was graduated with an A. R degree from Colgate Uni- versity in 1900, and received his M. D. clrgree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University in 1904. After graduation from medical school, Avery spent a few years in the prac- tice of clinical medicine, which supplied him with some amusing stories but did not attract him sueiciently for him to make his career in that field. & subsequently joined and cooperated with Benjamin White, Director of the Hoagland Laboratory in Brooklyn, where he became Associate Director of the Division of Bacteriology. Thus he instinctively selected the subject to which he was to devote his life 3’ BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS work and in which he was later to become famous. While here he began to familiarize himself with the activities of certain species of bacteria and their relationship to infectious diseases. The work from the very beginning led him in the direction of analytical thinking and of the investigation of the subject of i

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