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The Joshua Lederberg Papers

Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Lloyd V. Berkner pdf (67,632 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Lloyd V. Berkner
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1 (67,632 Bytes)
1958-02-18 (February 18, 1958)
Lederberg, Joshua
Berkner, Lloyd V.
Associated Universities, Inc.
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Lederberg Grouping: Correspondence C
Box Number: 9
Folder Number: 35
Unique Identifier:
Accession Number:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1935-2002
SubSeries: 1953-1960
Folder: Berkner, Lloyd V.
February 18, 1958
Dear Dr. Berkner:
Thank you for your encouraging letter of the 14th. I hope you will forgive the too impassioned tone of my memorandum; the understanding with which these views have been received speaks against the need for it. I was fearful that a demonstration lunar probe might be set off before there was time to assess whether my concern was valid or not. The purport of your letter is very hopeful against this.
There will now be the problem of a studious assessment, which I have hoped might be sponsored by the NAS. I understand that a symposium will be held before long on the uses of satellites in biological research, and this might furnish the necessary forms. There are many plausible arguments against Arrhenius' theory and I do not want to be put in the position of defending it. I simply felt the issue was too important to be disposed of by casual a priori argument.
Curiously enough, professional biologists have taken little part in speculations about extra-terrestrial life. This may have something to do with the currency of such proposals as that oxygen is a sine qua non for any intelligent life. We do badly need a channel of communication that can focus the knowledge and experience of specialists in several fields on these problems.
Yours sincerely,
Joshua Lederberg
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