© The Nobel Foundation
William Stein

American Jewish Recipients of the Nobel Prize

William H. Stein: Nobel
Prize in Chemistry

by Seymour “Sy” Brody

William H. Stein was an American Jewish recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, in 1972, which he shared with with Christian Anfinsen and Stanford Moore, for his contribution to the understanding of the connection between chemical structure and catalytic activity of the active center of the ribonuclease.

He was born on June 25, 1911, in New York City. He was the son Beatrice Borg and Freed M. Stein. His father was a businessman interested in the health of the community. He was involved with the New York Tuberculosis and Health Association. His mother was involved in helping the children in the community.

Stein was a graduate of the Phillips Exeter Academy (a high school). He went to Harvard University and graduated with a B.S. Degree, with a major in Chemistry, in 1933. He graduated from Columbia University with a PhD. in Chemistry, in 1937. After graduation, he went to work as a Scholar in the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (1938-1954). In 1954, he accepted the position of Professor at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research.

While attending college, he met Phoebe Hockstader and was married in 1936. They had three sons: William H. Jr., David F. and Robert J.

When World War II broke out, Stein and Dr. Moore had to suspend their research. They started to work for the Office of Scientific Research, in Washington, D.C.

After World War II, they resumed their research on trying to separate amino acids on columns of potato starch. His research was to find out as much as they could about what made it an enzyme.

Stein was a member of the Editorial Committee of The Journal of Biological Chemistryfrom 1955-1961. He became the chairman from 1959-1961. His point of view as the Editor was always that of a working research scientist.

William Stein reeived many honors and awards:
• A member of the Council of the Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness of NIH, 1961-1966
• Chairman of the U.S. National Committee for Biochemistry, 1968-1969
• Phillip Schaffer Lecturer at Washington University at St. Louis, 1965
• Harvey Lecturer, 1956
• Phillips Lecturer at Haverford College, 1962
• Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago, 1961
• Visiting Professor at Harvard University, 1964
• A member of the Medical Advisory Board, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, 1957-1970
• A trustee of the Montefiore Hospital.

Howard H. Stein died on February 2, 1980, in New York City.

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