Experiment Eleven

Dark Secrets Behind the Discovery of a Wonder Drug by Peter Pringle

By Allison Bohac, 13:56 PM May 14, 2012

In 1943, Rutgers graduate student Albert Schatz isolated two strains of bacteria that produced an unknown antibiotic. As World War II raged in Europe, tuberculosis and other diseases tore through refugee camps. New antibiotics were sorely needed, as Schatz, a former Army lab technician, knew well. He noted the new find under the heading “Exp. 11” in his lab notebook and shared his notes with his adviser, soil microbiologist Selman Waksman.

The antibiotic, streptomycin, became the first effecti...

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