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[IP] We owe her BIG TIME!!



Rosalyn S. Yalow
(1921 - 2011)
By Seymour "Sy" Brody

Rosalyn S. Yalow became the second woman to ever win the Nobel Prize in 
medicine, 1977. Her achievement was the development of RIA, an application 
of nuclear physics in clinical medicine that makes it possible for 
scientists to use radiotropic tracers to measure the concentration of 
hundreds of pharmacologic and biologic substances in the blood and other 
fluids of the human body and in animals and plants. She invented this 
technique in 1959 to measure the amount of insulin in the blood of adult 
diabetics. YES!!!

She was born on July 19, 1921, in New York City, of Jewish parents, Clara 
and Simon Sussman. She attended the New York City public school system and 
in Walton High School she was encouraged by her chemistry teacher to pursue 
a career in science. She graduated Hunter College and accepted a teaching 
fellowship in physics at the University of Illinois. In 1945, she became the 
second woman to receive a Ph.D. degree in physics from Illinois.

She met A. Aaron Yalow, a fellow physics student who was the son of a rabbi 
and they were married on June 6, 1943. They returned to New York where she 
accepted a lecturer's post in physics, which she held until 1950. During 
this period, they had two children, Benjamin and Elanna.

After World War II, the Veterans Administration was interested in doing 
research to explore the possible use of radioactive substances in the 
diagnosis of treatment and disease. The VA Hospital in the Bronx was chosen 
as one of the sites where research would be conducted. Dr. Yalow, who was a 
consultant in this facility, was hired to work on nuclear physics in 1947. 
In 1950, she was appointed physicist and assistant chief of the hospital's 
radioisotope service.
Dr Yalow was appointed to higher and more responsible positions at the VA 
Hospital during the years. In 1976, she became the first woman to win the 
Albert Lasker Prize for Basic Medical Research. During the years, Dr. Yalow 
was recognized for her achievements with numerous prestigious awards from 
organizations, societies, universities, etc.

Dr. Rosalyn Yalow was always aware of her role as a woman and as a Jew. 
After she received the Nobel Prize, the "Ladies Home Journal" wanted her to 
receive a special woman's award. She politely refused the offer, which she 
considered to be as a "ghetto" citation given her because she was a 
brilliant woman, not a brilliant scientist.

During her hectic life as a scientist and as the wife and mother of a 
family, she managed to host a five-part dramatic series on the life of 
Madame Curie, for the Public Broadcasting Service in 1976. She has put in 
long hours each week at the VA. Hospital and then come home to her kosher 
kitchen to prepare meals for her family. Dr. Yalow displayed energy and 
enthusiasm at all times for work and family.

Dr. Rosalyn Yalow was a beacon and guide for young women in achieving 
position and recognition in life. She demonstrated through her life that it 
is possible for a woman to be an outstanding professional as well as have a 
good family in their lifetime.

Dr. Yalow died on May 30, 2011, at age 89. 
.
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