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George Wald

(1906 - 1997)

George Wald was a Jewish American scientist who was awarded the 1967 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Wald (born November 18, 1906; died April 12, 1997) was born in New York City. He was a member of the first graduating class of the Brooklyn Technical High School in New York in 1922 and received his Bachelor of Science degree from New York University in 1927 and his Ph.D. in zoology from Columbia University in 1932.

After graduating, Wald received a travel grant from the US National Research Council to work in Germany with Otto Heinrich Warburg where he identified vitamin A in the retina. Wald then went on to work in Zurich before briefly working with Otto Fritz Meyerhof in Heidelberg, Germany. When Hitler rose to power in Germany, Wald left Europe for the University of Chicago. In 1934, he moved to the faculty at Harvard University.

While researching the biochemistry of vision at Harvard University, he disclosed the presence of Vitamin A in the retina of the eye. After further discoveries of the molecular makeup and chemical interactions within the eyes of all species, Wald was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1967.

Outspoken on many political issues, Wald stood publicly against the War in Vietnam and the nuclear arms race. In 1980, he served as part of Ramsey Clark's delegation to IRan during Iran hostage crisis.

Wald died in 1997 in Cambridge.

Sources: Dor LeDor; Wikipedia