Delbrück, Max


Delbrück, Max
born Sept. 4, 1906, Berlin, Ger.
died March 9, 1981, Pasadena, Calif., U.S.

German-born U.S. biologist.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Göttingen in 1930, and in 1937 he immigrated to the U.S., where he joined the California Institute of Technology faculty. In 1939 he discovered a one-step process for growing bacteriophages that would induce a phage, after an hour of inactivity, to multiply to produce several hundred thousands of progeny. In 1946 he and A.D. Hershey independently discovered that the genetic material of different kinds of viruses can combine to create new types of viruses, a process previously believed to be limited to higher, sexually reproducing forms of life. In 1969 he shared a Nobel Prize with Hershey and their colleague Salvador Luria.

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▪ American biologist
born Sept. 4, 1906, Berlin, Ger.
died March 9, 1981, Pasadena, Calif., U.S.
 German-born U.S. biologist, a pioneer in the study of molecular genetics. With Alfred Day Hershey and Salvador Luria, he was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for work on bacteriophages (bacteriophage)—viruses that infect bacteria.

      Delbrück received a Ph.D. in physics (1930) from the University of Göttingen. His interest in bacteriophages was aroused while he was a research assistant at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Chemistry in Berlin (1932–37). A refugee from Nazi Germany, Delbrück went to the United States in 1937, serving as a faculty member of the California Institute of Technology (1937–39; 1947–81) and of Vanderbilt University (1940–47). He became a U.S. citizen in 1945.

      In 1939 Delbrück discovered a one-step process for growing bacteriophages that, after a one-hour latent period, would multiply to produce several hundred thousands of progeny. Delbrück soon began to collaborate with Luria, and in 1943 they announced their discovery that a bacterium that has been infected by a bacteriophage can undergo spontaneous mutations so that it becomes immune to the phage. In 1946 Delbrück and Hershey independently discovered that the genetic material of different kinds of viruses can combine to create new types of viruses. This process was previously believed to be limited to higher, sexually reproducing forms of life.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Delbrück , Max — (1906–1981) German born American physicist and molecular biologist The son of a history professor, Delbrück trained as a physicist first in his native city of Berlin, and then at Tübingen, Bonn, and Göttingen, where he completed his doctorate in… …   Scientists

  • Delbrück,Max — Del·brück (dĕlʹbro͝ok , brük ), Max. 1906 1981. German born American biologist. He shared a 1969 Nobel Prize for investigating the mechanism of viral infection in living cells. * * * …   Universalium

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