Letter from Georges Carlier, Embassy of Belgium to Michael Heidelberger
In 1953, Heidelberger was appointed to the Order of Leopold II and received a monetary prize for his contribution to the discovery
in 1919 of Tryparsamide, an antitrypanosomal agent used in the treatment of trypanosomiasis, or African Sleeping Sickness,
an infectious disease endemic in large parts of Africa, including the Belgian Congo. He shared the prize with his former Rockefeller
Institute colleagues Walter Jacobs, Wade H. Brown and Louis Pearce, along with the English scientist H. W. Thomas, a pioneer
in the chemotherapy of the disease. However, Heidelberger protested to the Belgian Ambassador that Jacobs, whom he credited
with the conceptual breakthrough that made possible the synthesis of the drug from a less effective precursor, did not receive
a greater share of the prize money.
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1953-11-06 (November 6, 1953)
Embassy of Belgium
Courtesy of Michael Heidelberger.
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Awards and Prizes
The Making of an Immunologist: Heidelberger's Years at the Rockefeller Institute, 1912-1927
I have received your letter of October 27 about the distribution of the award for the discovery and experiences on Tryparsamide.
I understand and appreciate your motives in commenting upon the division of the funds granted by His Majesty the King of the
Belgians. Your observations were brought in due time to the attention of the proper authorities in Belgium.
Since, however, the decision had then already been finalised[?] and endorsed by a Royal Decree of the 15th of April 1953,
I feel it impracticable to consider a modification of the awards honoring four great scientists. Only your modesty prevents
you from enjoying a recognition that is truly due to you.