Max Theiler life and biography

Max Theiler picture, image, poster

Max Theiler biography

Date of birth : 1899-01-30
Date of death : 1972-08-11
Birthplace : Pretoria, South Africa
Nationality : American
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-12-15
Credited as : virologist, developed a vaccine against yellow fever, Nobel laureate

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Max Theiler (January 30, 1899 – August 11, 1972) was a South African/American virologist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951 for developing a vaccine against yellow fever.

South African virologist Max Theiler (pronounced Tyler) researched tropical diseases at Harvard, but spent most of his career at Rockefeller University. At Harvard, he studied rat-bite fever and dysentery, and proved that yellow fever is caused by a virus. At Rockefeller, Theiler developed a vaccine for yellow fever, a breakthrough which saved countless lives and earned Theiler the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1951.

Though he was the first South African Nobel laureate, he spent his last fifty years in America, and seemed thoroughly American to his colleagues. When asked what he would do with the money -- approximately $32,000 -- that came with his Nobel Prize, Theiler replied that he would buy a case of Scotch and watch the Brooklyn Dodgers play baseball.

His father, Arnold Theiler, was a famous animal doctor who lost one hand in a farm accident, researched many tick-transmitted diseases, became the first State Veterinarian for the South African Republic, and was knighted for his work.


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