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The Oswald T. Avery Collection

Letter from Torbjorn Caspersson to Joshua Lederberg pdf (62,896 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Torbjorn Caspersson to Joshua Lederberg
In this letter to Lederberg, Caspersson wrote that he could not release any information on the Nobel Foundation's consideration of Avery as all such materials were confidential. Caspersson related that due to the war, most scientists in Sweden did not learn of Avery's work until sometime after 1945.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (62,896 Bytes)
1972-10-20 (October 20, 1972)
Caspersson, Torbjorn
Lederberg, Joshua
Courtesy of Joshua Lederberg.
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Nobel Prize
Exhibit Category:
After the Discovery: The Transforming Principle's Reception by the Scientific Community
Metadata Record Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Torbjorn Caspersson (November 6, 1972) pdf (57,181 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Box Number: 5
Folder Number: 2
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Commentary on Avery and His Work, 1944-2005
SubSeries: Inquiries on Avery
Folder: Lederberg Inquiries, 1962, 1972-1978
October 20, 1972
Dear Joshua:
Thank you for your letter of October 3.
I am sorry that I cannot be of any use with regard to your question about Avery. All proposals and all testimonies and studies - and they are always extensive - regarding Nobel prizes are completely secret. This of natural reasons. Just now a move is being made so that it will be possible for historians after 50 years to get access to documents, but only after a special decision in each case by the corresponding Nobel committee.
Regarding my own contacts with Avery: Sweden was absolutely hermetically closed off by the Germans during the war and we did not hear anything at all about science from the US until after the end of the war. This was in fact mutual. I got one single opportunity to send a large box of reprints to the US with a special steamer, which was permitted to make one trip to the US to bring a load of wheat to Sweden. This box was dumped into the Baltimore harbor by the proper authorities.
The general scene in Sweden after the war was naturally somewhat curious as a result of the isolation. I believe I am right in saying that it took a remarkably long time here after the war until the importance of the nucleic acids in cell biology began to dawn for the more influential people. This in spite of the considerable bulk of work done in Sweden on that field during the preceding decades.
Many kind regards,
T. Caspersson, Prof.
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