Looking back, my scientific career seems to have been liberally strewn with missed opportunities. In fact, right at its outset I missed an opportunity by force of circumstance.

After a six-year break in my studies occasioned by service with the Jewish Brigade in the 8th Army during World War II, I began work on my Ph.D. thesis at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1947. The subject was a search for soil bacteria that would produce an antibiotic against typhoid and dysentery bacteria. At that time the only two known antibiotics were penicillin and streptomycin. I got off to a rather successful start by isolating a Bacillus whose colonies had the peculiar property of rotating synchronously on agar plates. An extract of the broth in which these bacteria grew inhibited the growth of typhoid bacteria. This microorganism was indeed later found to produce polymyxin, but I had to give up...

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