|Dubos, René J. (Jules)
1901 - 1982
Bacteriologist, author; born in Saint-Brice, France. He came to the U.S.A. in 1924, and spent his career at Rockefeller University (1927-71), except for two years at Harvard (1942-44). He expanded his original studies of soil bacteria to include investigations of bacterial enzymes and toxins, infectious diseases, and the relationship between microbes and other life on earth. In 1939 he isolated tyrothricin, the first commercially-produced antibiotic. He was a prolific author of both scientific and popular books. In 1969 Dubos won the Pulitzer Prize for So Human an Animal (1968). About the book, from the publisher: "Is the human species becoming dehumanized by the condition of his environment? So Human an Animal is an attempt to address this broad concern, and explain why so little is being done to address this issue. The book sounds both an urgent warning, and offers important policy insights into how this trend towards dehumanization can be halted and finally reversed. Dubos asserts that we are as much the product of our total environment as of our genetic endowment. In fact, the environment we live in can greatly enhance, or severely limit, the development of human potential. Yet we are deplorably ignorant of the effects of our surroundings on human life. We create conditions which can only thwart human nature. So Human an Animal is a book with hope no less than alarm. Science can change our suicidal course by learning to deal analytically with the living experience of human beings, by supplementing the knowledge of things and of the body machine with a science of human life. Only then can we give larger scope to human freedom by providing a rational basis for option and action."