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Interview with Norman H. Horowitz

Horowitz, Norman (1987) Interview with Norman H. Horowitz. [Oral History]

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Interview, 1984, with Norman Horowitz, professor of biology emeritus and former chairman of the Biology Division (1977-1980), who arrived at Caltech as a graduate student in 1936. Recollections of Thomas Hunt Morgan; embryologist Albert Tyler, with whom he did his PhD; Caltech's marine biological station at Corona del Mar. Comments on Biology Division in the late 1930s: Calvin Bridges on Drosophila salivary chromosomes; Frits Went and James Bonner in plant physiology; Henry Borsook on thermodynamics of biological compounds. Importance of genetics at Caltech. NRC fellowship, 1939, at Stanford and meeting George W. Beadle; recollections of Beadle, and Beadle's 1941 talk at Caltech on his and Edward Tatum's work on Neurospora. Horowitz returns to Stanford as postdoc in Beadle and Tatum's lab, compiling evidence for the "one gene, one enzyme" theory. Returns to Caltech in 1946 as senior research fellow with Beadle, who came as division chairman. Instrumental in getting Max Delbrück back to Caltech from Vanderbilt University. Lee DuBridge arrives as Caltech's president in 1946. 1954 work with Boris Ephrussi on Drosophila tyrosinase in Paris. Becomes chief of bioscience section, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1965. Comments on history of Mars observations and ideas about microbial life on Mars at time of first Viking (Mars) launch, 1975. Designs Viking instruments with George Hobby and Jerry Hubbard. Comments on Roy Cameron's search for bacteria in dry valleys of Antarctica and on spacecraft sterilization. Later work with Neurospora, Aspergillus, and Penicillium on water and iron requirements. Comments on Robert Sinsheimer, his predecessor as Biology Division chairman, and on presidencies of DuBridge, Harold Brown, and Marvin L. Goldberger. Comments on current trends in Biology Division, and on the book he is writing about the search for life on Mars, and his conviction that Earth is the only place in the solar system that supports life.

Item Type:Oral History
Keywords:biology, space exploration
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Horowitz_N
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:All Records
Subjects > Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Subjects > Biology
ID Code:22
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:29 Oct 2002
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:23

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