Letter from Michael Heidelberger to the Editor of Industrial and Engineering News
In this letter Heidelberger forcefully expressed his concern for the freedom of science and of international scientific exchange,
which in the early 1950s, at the height of McCarthyism, was threatened by travel restrictions imposed on scientists with leftist
or pacifist political leanings.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (98,858 Bytes)
1951-05-07 (May 7, 1951)
Industrial and Engineering News
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Antigens and Antibodies: Heidelberger and The Rise of Quantitative Immunochemistry, 1928-1954
In your sketch of Dr. E. Lederer in the April 23rd number of Industrial and Engineering News I find the statement that Dr.
Lederer "was unable to attend the award to him of the Fritzeche medal". I am deeply shocked and disturbed that the
editors of our American Chemical Society house organ should in this way suppress an item of news of vital concern to every
member of the Society and to every citizen who values the freedom we are struggling to preserve.
Actually, Dr. Lederer, a former but not present Communist, was refused a visa. By omitting to mention this you have done your
bit to fasten upon us more firmly a stupid and childish practice that is inflicting great damage on the progress of science
in the United States. Even before the passage by Congress of the un-American McCarren act our State Department was refusing
to grant visas to scientists suspected of leftist tendencies. In this way a number of prominent European colleagues who had
been invited to participate in congresses and symposia were refused visas and those at the meetings were deprived of their
expert competence, technical judgment and learning.
My condoning a long-standing government policy of treating American citizens in this way as children and not adults ("Mama
knows best what is good for you.") you have done a disservice to our citizenry as a whole, and, in particular, to the
members of the American Chemical Society.