Monday, March 27, 2023

Nature Obituary Remembers Biochemist Paul Berg

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Nature of Science, History of Science, Nature of Science

Ed Hessler

An obituary in the British journal Nature notes the achievements and life of biochemist Paul Berg who received the Nobel Prize for "his fundamental studies of the biochemistry of nucleic acids" in 1980 along with Walter Gilbert and Frederick Sanger for "their contributions concerning the determination of base sequences in nucleic acids." Berg was the first to transfer DNA from one organism to another.

Here is the last paragraph: "Berg was an extraordinary scientist, teacher, mentor and administrator, and a skilled proponent of bringing good, old-fashioned common sense to bear on contentious public-policy issues, including later the use of embryonic stem cells in biomedical research. He formally closed his research laboratory at the turn of the twenty-first century, but continued to advise his department and his university, and to act as a consultant to biotechnology companies. The world of academia will sorely miss this giant of the early days of molecular biology and molecular genetics."

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