In announcing the award, the foundation noted Davidson’s record of drawing on his interdisciplinary talents when addressing scientific questions, exemplified by his application of physical and chemical principles in his investigation of the molecular biology of nucleic acids. In the 1960s, he and a team of colleagues invented heteroduplex analysis, a method for observing gene sites on DNA and RNA molecules through the electron microscope. Also of significance are his kinetic and mechanistic studies of complementary strands of nucleic acids and the method he developed for revealing the sequences present in nucleic acid molecules. Now standard research tools, Davidson’s methodolo gies have led to solutions of major problems in molecular biology.

Davidson earned B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemistry from the University of Chicago, as well as a B.Sc. from Oxford University in England. He joined Caltech’s faculty in 1946 and has served as faculty chairman and executive officer in...

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