Rosalyn Yalow, medical scientist, dies at 89


The New York Times posted an obituary today for Dr. Rosalyn Yalow, 89, a Nobel-prize winning medical physicist who died on Monday. According to the Times, she was the second woman to ever win the Nobel Prize in medicine:  

Dr. Yalow, a product of New York City schools and the daughter of parents who never finished high school, graduated magna cum laude from Hunter College in New York at the age of 19 and was the college’s first physics major. Yet she struggled to be accepted for graduate studies. In one instance, a skeptical Midwestern university wrote: “She is from New York. She is Jewish. She is a woman.”

Here is how JTA covered her Nobel Prize win:

Jewish Scientist Wins Nobel Prize (October 14, 1977) NEW YORK –

Dr. Rosalyn Yalow was named today a co-winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize for physiology and medicine. She will share the $145,000 award with two other Americans, Dr. Roger Guillemin and Dr. Andrew Schally. Dr. Yalow, 56, who is Jewish, is on the staff of the Veterans Administration Hospital in The Bronx.

She was cited for her development of the immunoassay methods, a simple technique used in hospitals around the world to measure tiny amounts of hormones and proteins in the blood. According to the Nobel citation, Dr. Yalow, by her discoveries, has "directed diabetes research into new tracks and gave it new dimensions. This was pioneering work at the highest level." Dr. Yalow lives in Riverdale. She is married and has two children.

Following this honor (and her subsequent recognition by the Jewish Academy of Arts and Sciences), JTA reported two instances of Yalow signing petitions to the Soviet government to free Jewish dissidents, first for Anatoly "Natan" Shcharansky and later for computer scientist Viktor Brailovsky.

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