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Published January 1990 | Published
Journal Article Open

George Wells Beadle (1903-1989)


George Wells Beadle was born to Hattie Albro and Chauncey Elmer Beadle in Wahoo, Nebraska, on October 22, 1903. He died in Pomona, California, on June 9, 1989. Beadle was one of the giant figure of genetics in our time. He initiated the series of great discoveries made between 1941 and 1953 that brought to a close the era of classical genetic and launched the molecular age. For this achievement he received many honors, including the Nobel Prize. He was President of the Genetics Society of America in 1946 and won its Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal in 1984. Beadle also had a distinguished career as an academic administrator. When he retired in 1968, he was President of the University of Chicago. He never lost his love of experimental genetics, however, and after his retirement he resumed experimental work on a favorite subject: the origin of maize. In 1981 he gave up research because of increasing disability from the Alzheimer's disease that eventually ended his life.

Additional Information

© 1989 by the Genetics Society of America. For their comments on the manuscript, I am indebted to MURIEL BEADLE, ELIZABETH BERTANI, JAMES BONNER, EDWARD and PAMELA LEWIS and RAY OWEN. For answering my questions on a variety of matters, I thank MARION BEADLE, WALTON GALINAT, BARBARA MCCLINTOCK, OLIVER NELSON, JANE OVERTON and BERNARD STRAUSS. And I thank the personnel of the Caltech Archives for their unfailing courtesy.

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