Letter from Michael Heidelberger to Alden H. Emery, American Chemical Society
In this letter Heidelberger continued to object to the decision of the Admissions Committee of the American Chemical Society
in 1953, at the height of the McCarthyism, to deny membership in the society to the French chemist and Nobel Laureate, Irene
Joliot-Curie, on the grounds that she was a communist. Heidelberger objected that this decision was itself political, that
it undermined the freedom of scientific inquiry in the United States, and that a candidate's scientific qualifications
alone should determine eligibility for membership. As a member of the Reception Committee of the Joint Anti Fascist Refugee
Committee, headed by Albert Einstein and Harlow Shapley, Heidelberger welcomed Joliot-Curie on her visit to the United States
in March 1948.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (53,693 Bytes)
1954-03-30 (March 30, 1954)
Emery, Alden H.
American Chemical Society
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Antigens and Antibodies: Heidelberger and The Rise of Quantitative Immunochemistry, 1928-1954
Letter from Michael Heidelberger to Alden H. Emery, American Chemical Society (January 11, 1954)
Letter from Michael Heidelberger to Alden H. Emery, American Chemical Society (February 17, 1954)
Letter from A. M. Pappenheimer, Jr. to Alden H. Emery, American Chemical Society (March 11, 1954)
Thank you for sending me the statement of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. In my opinion it makes the situation
worse, not better, and I deplore its issuance.
Communism is a disease, and it cannot be stamped out by treating it as a crime, or its advocates as criminals. The alternative
to a modus vivendi with the communists is a war of extermination, and the action of the Executive Committee is along the latter
path to destruction of civilization as we know it.
All of this, including the Committee's statement, is irrelevant, anyway, as according to my information, Mme. Joliot-Curie
is not, and has not been, a member of the Communist party.
I ask you, please, to place this letter and our earlier correspondence before the Executive Committee.