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Life in Science : Alan Campbell

Landes Bioscience
Publication Date
DOI: 10.4161/bact.22762
  • Bacteriophage Community
  • Chemistry
  • Philosophy
  • Physics

Abstract Bacteriophage 137 Bacteriophage 2:3, 137-138; July/August/September 2012; © 2012 Landes Bioscience BActeriophAge community ceLL cycLe newS & viewS my first phage experiments were performed in 1951, in a course given by Salvador Luria at the university of illinois. phage research has been my principal activity during the subsequent 60 years. this essay starts with how i came to be a graduate student at illinois, then it recounts what happened later, to me and to the field of bacteriophage research. How I entered the field i graduated from the university of california, Berkeley with a major in chemistry in 1950. my preferred career would have been novelist, but i dismissed that as impractical. my parents, who had majored in english and Journalism, respectively, advised me to major in Science, because they thought that most of what they had learned at the university i would be able to learn on my own. i had no ambition to do research. As an undergraduate, i expected to obtain my Bachelor in Science degree and go to work in the chemical industry. however, my interest in physical sciences was more philosophical than practical. From high school onward, the scien- tist i most admired was Albert einstein. Some of my most influential teach- ers at Berkeley were Joel henry hildebrand (chemistry), Luis w. Alvarez (physics), william Life in Science Allan Campbell Email: [email protected] giauque (thermodynamics) and michael Doudoroff and roger Stanier (Bacteriology). All these men provided the intellectual stimu- lation i craved. my tastes in teachers were not shared by all students; years later i encoun- tered a young chemist from Berkeley who remarked, “i understand giauque never pre- pared his lectures.” i guess he did not. the man was immersed in science, and his spontaneous thoughts were invaluable. i would have felt cheated had he given us yet another pre- organized show. my application to graduate school was motivated mainly

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