Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University
of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.
The life of Niels Kaj Jerne (1911-1994)—Nobel laureate, brilliant
thinker, scientific theorist of genius, able administrator, citizen of Europe
and the world—was far from troubled. Born into a well-to-do family,
he lived fairly comfortably through the ravages of World War II, went unhurriedly
and leisurely through his belated medical studies, landed a comfortable job
at the prestigious Statens Seruminstitute in Copenhagen, Denmark, and there
formulated his selection theory of antibody formation, which suddenly propelled
him to international fame. Within a few years he became recognized among a
small but rapidly growing elite of highly regarded immunologists. Despite
his expensive lifestyle, he hardly ever had financial problems and always
enjoyed the company of a loving and adoring woman (or two). Professionally,
he never had to face the agonizing process of writing grant applications and
arguing for more laboratory space. From reading the book, one might conclude
that—contrary to the subtitle—Jerne led a reasonably happy, leisurely,
and trouble-free life.
Dubiski S. Niels Jerne. JAMA. 2004;291(10):1267–1268. doi:10.1001/jama.291.10.1267
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