Since scientists operate in small worlds populated by people with common research interests, they repeatedly encounter one another in the literature as well as at conferences. The world I inhabited as a graduate student and for some years thereafter revolved around the study of antibiotics.

I earned my doctorate in the department of microbiology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where antibiotics were the focus of interest. The chairman of the department was Selman A. Waksman. He was the first to identify the group of bacteria known as actinomycetes as a major source of antibiotics important in industry and medicine. Along with his associates at Rutgers, Waksman discovered an impressive array of actinomycete antibiotics, the most noteworthy of which are actinomycin, neomycin and streptomycin. His many contributions to microbiology did not go without recognition. In 1952, just after I had completed my graduate work and departed the United...

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