Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Mieography

Rosalyn Sussman was born in New York City, daughter of Simon, and Clara. Her mother was a German Immigrant, and her father had been born in NYC. Neither one of them had a high school education, but they were determined that their children would go to college. They had no money for books, so her brother would take her to the library, weekly for reading material.

By seventh grade, she was a mathematics scholar. She did graduate highschool, and was accepted at Hunter College for women in NYC. Her interests at this time were mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Her family, however, wanted her to become a school teacher. Also complicating matters was that the "good" graduate schools were not accepting women, at the time.
In the last half of her senior year at Hunter, because she knew the right person, and because she knew how to type (!) she got a job working as a secretary for Dr. Rudolf Schoenheimer, who was a leading biochemist at Columbia University's college of Physicians and Surgeons. Trying to get in "the back door", she graduated from Hunter, took a course in stenography, which allowed her to take another job with a different biochemist, and never gave up her hopes of a degree in physics.
By February of that same year, she got offered a teaching assistantship in physics at U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was offered this job on the mere fact that most of the men were off fighting the war, and the university was offering positions and scholarships to the women to prevent having to close down. She took two free physics classes at NY University that summer, and off she went to Illinois, where she was the only woman among the 400 members of the physics department. While she was there, she met Aaron Yalow, and they married in 1943. She graduated with her Ph.D in physics in 1945. She and her husband moved back to NYC, where, initially, she took a job teaching Physics at her old alma mater, Hunter College. Soon, though, she was offered a job at the Bronx Veterans Administration hospital, where she helped to set up their radioisotope services, and, with her work partner, developed RIA, a radioisotope tracing technique that allows the measurement of various biological substances in blood. Initially, this was used to test for insulin for the diabetics. It is now applied to hundreds of substances, including hormones, vitamins, and enzymes.
By 1968, she was appointed Research Professor in the Dept. of Medicine at the Mount Sinai Hospital, where she later became the "Distinguished Professor at Large". (what a title).
In 1975, she was awarded the AMA Scientific Achievement Award, and in 1976 she was the first female recipient of the Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research. By 1977, she was awarded the Nobel Prize. Continuing her work, in 1988, she was awarded the National Medal of Science. She has won a host of other awards as well
She and Aaron have two children, and still live in NYC.


sybil law said...

Sometimes, when I read these, I'm like, "I am SOOO effing lazy!"!
But all of the time I am impressed!

Daryl said...

What Syb said