A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication

Tribute to Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, Nobel medical physicist


Dr. Rosalyn Yalow. Image courtesy of Nobelprize.org.

Dr. Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, who passed away last month on May 30, was a mother, wife, educator, and dedicated medical physicist.  She received the Nobel Prize  in Medicine in 1977 while working for the Veterans Administration Hospital in New York for her contributions to the development of radioimmunoassays of peptide hormones. Today scientists utilize this technology to further diagnostics in the medical field for cancer research and Type II diabetes.  If this technique had not been developed by Dr. Yalow and Dr. Solomon Berson, her longtime collaborator, it would have taken longer for the other scientists that followed in their footsteps to achieve their own accomplishments.  The Scientific Community recognized Dr. Yalow with many awards:  the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award; A. Cressy Morrison Award in Natural Sciences of the N.Y. Academy of Sciences; Scientific Achievement Award of the American Medical Association; Koch Award of the Endocrine Society; Gairdner Foundation International Award; American College of Physicians Award for distinguished contributions in science as related to medicine; Eli Lilly Award of the American Diabetes Association; First William S. Middleton Medical Research Award of the VA and five honorary doctorates. Dr. Yalow was only the second woman to earn a Nobel Prize in Medicine. She served as an inspiration for women scientists in the field today, and I would like to personally say, “Thank you.”

Editor's note: For more information about Dr. Yalow, read her autobiography and the obituary in the New York Times.


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