Alfred Day Hershey
Hershey, Alfred Day
Born Dec. 4, 1908, in Lansing, Mich. American virologist. Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences (1958).
Hershey graduated from the University of Michigan in 1930; he received his Ph.D. there in 1934. He taught bacteriology at Washington University from 1934 to 1950. He joined the staff of the genetics department of the Carnegie Institution in 1950; he was made director of the department in 1962.
Hershey devoted most of his research to the genetics of bacteriophages and the chemistry of viral DNA. He discovered recombinants in bacteriophages and, together with the American scientist R. Rotman, constructed the first genetic map of the viruses. In 1952, Hershey and M. Chase used labeled atoms to show that the material carrier of bacteriophage heredity is DNA. Their experiments laid the groundwork for new advances in molecular genetics. Hershey discovered two phases in the reproduction of a bacteriophage before the appearance of infectious particles: the first phase is replication of phage DNA, and the second is synthesis of phage protein.
Hershey was awarded the Kimber Genetics Award in 1965 and the Nobel Prize in 1969 (jointly with M. Delbrück and S. Luria).