physicist, despite his presence at a physicists' convention; yet he knew
some physics, was a friend of Enrico Fermi, and had begun phage research
of his own while still in Italy. After several hours' conversation, Luria wrote
later, they had dinner with Wolfgang Pauli and another European physicist
"during which the talk was mostly in German, mostly about theoretical
physics, mostly above my head." Afterward, "Delbruck and I adjourned to
New York for a 48-hour bout of experimentation in my laboratory at the
College of Physicians and Surgeons" of Columbia University. "It was not
an experiment to do," Luria said in the fall of 1973. "It was just to see because,
what happened is that Max wanted to work with a particular
phage that attacks staphylococcus, a phage named Krueger phage after the
man that first wrote it up, and Max had been told by Krueger that this
phage should not be assayed by plaques, the way one does all the assays,
but should be assayed by a very complicated method, which partly turned
out later to be the cause why Krueger got very crazy results, results that he
interpreted in a very crazy way. And I had gotten the same phage from
Krueger, and I was assaying it all the time in the usual way like every
other, and I told that to Max, and he said, "I want to see," so I said, "Fine. If
you come up on Monday I'll have plates and everything ready and we'll play
around." And he did, and we did."
The two men planned a series of experiments to do together and debated
where to do them, whether at Vanderbilt in Nashville or in New York.
Three weeks later, Delbruck wrote to Luria that he had been invited to
attend the next annual symposium at Cold Spring Harbor and to spend the
rest of the summer there; could they work together there? "If that could be
arranged satisfactorily at C.S.H., I might overcome my antipathy to the
place." In fact, Delbruck got married that summer, and spent the first
weeks of his marriage at Cold Spring Harbor. At that symposium, Luria
wrote much later, "The whole idea of the nature of the gene- I do not know
if it was the first time; it was the first time in my experience-was dealt
with in an environment in which geneticists and people interested in molecular
structure were interacting freely." Delbruck has returned there to
work and teach many summers since.
At the end of January 1943, at Delbruck's invitation, a microbiologist
named Alfred Hershey visited Nashville for a few days; he had written
papers about phage that caught Luria's and Delbruck's attention. In a
letter to Luria, along with the draft of a new theoretical idea, Delbruck
gave his first impressions of Hershey: "Drinks whiskey but not tea. Simple
and to the point. Likes living in a sailboat for three months, likes independence."
The three men were the nucleus of the phage group. Delbruck
recently characterized this beginning as two enemy aliens and "another
misfit in society." The three shared the Nobel Prize for physiology and
medicine in 1969, seven years later than Watson, Crick, and Wilkins.
[END PUBLISHED DOCUMENT]
[BEGIN LEDERBERG'S HANDWRITTEN ANNOTATION]
on Delbruck -- which will surely interest you.
But its unsatisfactory "pop history" on many accounts. Two leaps to the rye on p.353
1) Does AD Hershey count himself part of the "phage group"?
(In '46 (CSH) Delbruck rather resisted Hershey's virus recombinations in favor of some "modifications form without".)
2. Exactly when and how did Luria and Delbruck meet?
Judson give a precise account. Is there any reason to doubt it?