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The Joshua Lederberg Papers

Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Luca Cavalli-Sforza pdf (169,830 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Luca Cavalli-Sforza
Item is handwritten. Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
3 (169,830 Bytes)
1962-12-25 (December 25, 1962)
Lederberg, Joshua
Cavalli-Sforza, Luca
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Lederberg Grouping: Correspondence D
Box Number: 16
Folder Number: 181
Unique Identifier:
Accession Number:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1935-2002
SubSeries: 1961-1978
Folder: Cavalli-Sforza, Luca
12-25-62. Merry Christmas to Alba and the Boys and Violetta and yourself and Happy New Year.
Dear Luca --
Enclosed a mess of stuff (also some by 2' class airmail) that I hope will be self-explanatory. Much of it relates to the therapoiesis[?].
We have a warm and wonderful recollection of our visit, even the cold stone churches of Venice. We shall certainly have to try it again -- best if there is any chance of coincidence of warmer weather and no tourists.
Please remember to send me the list of journals you will index. But I must admit that I am becoming discouraged again about general current awareness. Most of us should read only a half-dozen journals (if we can mange [sic] that) and leave to a diplomatic corps the specialized job of searching all the rest of the literature, and communicating the high spots to us.
From Current Contents, noticed titles may interest you:
Comm. of the Assoc. Comput. Mach. 1962 (11) Kahn, A.B.
Topological sorting of large networks. 558
I.R.E. Trans. (Inform. Theory) 17 (8): 384
Tree-like structure of block codes
Do you know the book by Vercors -- "And You Shall Know Them" about the legal problem raised by a new primate species which forms a Rassenkreis between man and the apes.
Page 2
A paper by Orme -- 1962 -- Intelligence and season of birth Brit. J. Med. Psych. 35:233 -- reminded me you had made some comments on seasonal variation of births.
1. I ran about 200 names from American Men of Science. In the decade 1920-29 January is sparse, March frequent (p~.02); different pattern in previous decades. [Different name intervals may well show different patterns!]. I assume, wrongly, a random birth. Plainly -- if there is an effect, there are many trivial, some non-trivial explanations.
It would be important to (a) get more data (b) analyse for intra- as well as inter-family variance [Stem mentions Fraser Roberts on this -- p. 338; 349].
2. Do you have any comment on the general problem, and what we can use as control figures for the American white population? Is its stratification known? Has this been commented on? I believe the NSF has already punched cards on every U.S. scientist, and it should not be too difficult to match the distribution of birth dates, birth place (say by states -- or with some more work, by gross city size v. rural), classes of family names, vs. advanced degrees and field of work. This has the great advantage of being a low bias and inexpensive file; but sib or other close paired controls are impossible.
3. Have you thought of using your own data for this problem, especially as you do have family data to connect with school grades?
4. If, as may be expected, any seasonal effect is a byproduct
of social stratification, could this itself not be put to more use, e.g. on studies of the disease conditions[?] of blood groups. Of course some diseases will, in turn, be related to birth dates (seasonal variation of epidemic pediatric diseases, etc.) That is, correlation with birth dates (usually the cheapest statistic) would raise suspicion of a stratification that might otherwise be elusive.
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