Philippe Halsman, 02 May 1906 - 25 Jun 1979 Search this
Selman Abraham Waksman, 22 Jul 1888 - 16 Aug 1973 Search this
Gelatin silver print on paper
Image/Sheet: 34.7 x 27.4cm (13 11/16 x 10 13/16")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9cm (28 x 22")
Microbiologist Selman Waksman claimed that the best ideas for lab research came from interchange with his students at Rutgers University. There was substance behind that self-effacing comment, for it was the work of several graduate students that spurred Waksman to explore the theory that microorganisms in the soil might be useful for treating human disease. The most notable result of that investigation was the discovery of streptomycin in 1943, the first truly effective cure for tuberculosis, then one of the world's most lethal illnesses. In 1941 Waksman had coined the term "antibiotic" to describe a new class of medications, including penicillin, which relied on one microbe to destroy another. His scientific achievements earned him a Nobel Prize in medicine in 1952. Philippe Halsman's photograph pictures Waksman in his Rutgers laboratory.