MembersSelman Waksman, Discoverer of Streptomycin


By Tsvi Sadan |
Selman Abraham Waksman
GENIUS IN THE LAB: Waksman coined the term ‘antibiotics’ Photo: Creative Commons

Selman Abraham Waksman (1888-1973) received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1952 for his discovery of streptomycin. Born to a typical Jewish family from the small town of Novaya-Priluka, Ukraine, at the age of five Waksman entered the cheder, a religious elementary school. Like other families who could afford it, his education in Judaism was supplemented by private tutors who taught him Russian, literature, history, arithmetic and geography.


The anti-Semitic outbreak that followed the Russian Revolution of 1905 sent Waksman to America, and in 1910 he settled in Metuchen, New Jersey. He enrolled at Rutgers University where...

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