Concept

Howard Martin Temin

Summary
Howard Martin Temin (December 10, 1934 – February 9, 1994) was an American geneticist and virologist. He discovered reverse transcriptase in the 1970s at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, for which he shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Renato Dulbecco and David Baltimore. Temin was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Jewish parents, Annette (Lehman), an activist, and Henry Temin, an attorney. As a high school student at Central High School in Philadelphia, he participated in the Jackson Laboratory's Summer Student Program in Bar Harbor, Maine. The director of the program, C.C. Little, told his parents that Temin was "unquestionably the finest scientist of the fifty-seven students who have attended the program since the beginning...I can't help but feel this boy is destined to become a really great man in the field of science." Temin said that his experience at Jackson's Laboratory is what originally interested him in science. Temin's parents raised their family to have values associated with social justice and independent thinking, which was evident throughout his life. For Temin's bar mitzvah, the family donated money that would have been spent on the party to a local camp for displaced persons. Temin was also the valedictorian of his class and he devoted his speech to relevant issues at the time including the recent hydrogen bomb activity and the news of sending a man to the moon. Temin received a bachelor's degree from Swarthmore College in 1955 majoring and minoring in biology in the honors program. He received his doctorate degree in animal virology from the California Institute of Technology in 1960. Temin's first exposure to experimental science was during his time at the California Institute of Technology as a graduate student in laboratory of Professor Renato Dulbecco. Temin originally studied embryology at Caltech, but after about a year and a half, he switched to animal virology. He became interested Dulbecco's lab after a chance run-in with Harry Rubin, a postdoctoral fellow in Dulbecco's lab.
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