Letter from David H. Hubel to Marshall W. Nirenberg
Hubel informs Nirenberg that as President of the Society for Neuroscience he has decided to "concentrate on offensive
tactics, rather than to limit myself to fighting brush fires" caused by animal activists. He contrasts the boldness with
which the Surgeon General Koop addressed smoking and the reluctance with which he dealt with the animal rights question.
Hubel asks for Nirenberg's opinion on the idea of writing a letter to Koop signed by Nobel Prize winners urging him to
take a more active stance on the issue.
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1989-02-24 (February 24, 1989)
Hubel, David H.
Nirenberg, Marshall W.
Reproduced with permission of David H. Hubel.
Beyond the Laboratory: Professional, Personal, and Political Life, 1967-2002
This year I find myself President of the Society for Neuroscience. As you might guess, one of my main preoccupations is with
the animal activists. I've decided to concentrate on offensive tactics, rather than to limit myself to fighting brush
When I heard Koop's (the Surgeon General's) comments on smoking a few weeks ago I was struck by the contrast between
his boldness on that issue and his reluctance -- and also that of the administration of the NIH and the NSF -- to deal with
the animal rights question.
I want to get your reaction to the idea of writing the Surgeon General a letter, signed by as many Nobel Prize winners as
we can get, urging him to take a more active stance on this issue. Would you be willing to sign such a letter, and perhaps
similar ones to the top people at NIH and NSF? If enough of us are enthusiastic I will prepare drafts of a few such letters
for your approval.
David H. Hubel, M.D.
Professor of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
President, Society for Neuroscience
P.S.: Too bad we don't see more of each other. I well remember our conversation on the porch at Cold Spring Harbor.