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American biochemist Paul Berg (b. 1926) has been making outstanding contributions to biochemistry and molecular biology for over fifty years. As a young researcher he resolved several key problems in metabolic chemistry, and went on to discover the mechanisms by which DNA and RNA direct the synthesis of proteins in living systems. In 1972, he and his colleagues at Stanford University synthesized the first recombinant DNA (rDNA), and he subsequently led the international community of rDNA researchers in their efforts to address the potential physical and ethical hazards posed by that revolutionary technology. He received the 1980 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his protein synthesis and rDNA work.
The Stanford University Libraries Department of Special Collections and University Archives in Stanford, California is the repository for the Paul Berg Papers, which range from 1953 to 1986. The collection contains correspondence, lab notebooks, administrative files, grant files, departmental records, student files, lectures, reprints, illustrations, videotapes, and audiotapes.
As part of its Profiles in Science project, the National Library of Medicine has collaborated with Stanford University Libraries Department of Special Collections and University Archives to digitize and make available over the World Wide Web a selection of the Paul Berg Papers for use by educators and researchers. This site provides access to the portions of the Paul Berg Papers of Stanford University Libraries Department of Special Collections and University Archives that have been selected for digitization. Individuals interested in conducting research in the Paul Berg Papers are invited to contact Stanford University Libraries Department of Special Collections and University Archives.
This online Exhibit is designed to introduce you to the various phases of Berg's scientific career and professional life. It is divided into sections that focus on Berg's life and major scientific contributions. We suggest that new visitors begin with this exhibit, which includes a small selection of documents and visuals, organized within these sections. Each section begins with a "Background Narrative," which leads to "Documents" and "Visuals."
Visitors may access additional materials through Search on the navigation bar. They may also view the materials alphabetically or chronologically by choosing Browse on the navigation bar. Documents and visuals in these lists are arranged by format and then either alphabetically by title or chronologically.