Landmark designation and Acknowledgements
The American Chemical Society designated the research of Selman Waksman and his students into the actinomycete antibiotics a National Historic Chemical Landmark on May 24, 2005. The plaque on the Cook College Campus of Rutgers University commemorating the event reads:
Here, in Martin Hall, Selman A. Waksman and his students isolated antibiotics produced by actinomycetes, most notably streptomycin, the first effective pharmaceutical treatment for tuberculosis, cholera, and typhoid fever. They also isolated neomycin, used as a topical antibacterial agent. These discoveries emerged from Waksman's research program, which developed novel screening protocols for detecting antimicrobial agents in the soil. Waksman received a Nobel Prize in 1952 for "ingenious, systematic and successful studies of the soil microbes" that led to the discovery of streptomycin.
Photo Credits: Rutgers University.
Written by Judah Ginsberg
In addition to consulting the standard reference works on Waksman, some of the important scientific papers on the development of antibiotics at Rutgers University, and the Waksman Papers at Rutgers, which are cited in the text, the author interviewed Drs. Boyd Woodruff, David Pramer, and Carl Schaffner. The author also wishes to thank Dr. Woodruff and Dr. Hubert A. Lechavelier for providing further insights in writing into the events described in the preceding pages. He also wishes to thank Dr. Douglas Eveleigh of Rutgers University for guiding him through the thickets of the history of the discovery of the actinomycete antibiotics. Needless to say, any remaining errors are his alone.
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