George Wald

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Wald, George,

1906–97, American biochemist, b. New York City, Ph.D. Columbia, 1932. He spent most of his career on the faculty at Harvard. In 1967 Wald, Haldan K. HartlineHartline, Haldan Keffer,
1903–83, American physiologist, b. Bloomsburg, Pa., M.D. Johns Hopkins, 1927. From 1931 to 1949 (except for 1940–41), he was a researcher at the Eldridge Reeves Johnson Foundation for Medical Physics, Univ. of Pennsylvania.
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, and Ragnar GranitGranit, Ragnar,
1900–1991, Swedish physiologist, M.D., Univ. of Helsinki, 1927. A professor at the Univ. of Helsinki from 1927, he joined the faculty of the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, in 1940.
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 received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine with for their discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye. Wald was the first scientist to detect vitamin A in the retina, and he went on to identify three different types of retinal cone cells, each of which has unique protein pigments and enables the eye to react to a specific portion of the color spectrum.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wald, George


Born Nov. 18, 1906, in New York City. American biologist and biochemist. Member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Wald graduated from Washington Square College of New York University in 1927. He was a National Research Council fellow from 1932 to 1934. Since 1934, Wald has taught biology at Harvard University; he was an assistant professor from 1944 to 1948 and a full professor from 1948 to 1968.

Wald’s main works deal with biochemistry and physiology and with problems concerning the origin of life and biological evolution. His particular concern has been the development of vision and problems relating to color vision in humans. Wald discovered vitamins A (retinol) and A2 (dehydroretinol) in the retinal receptors (cones and rods), and he explained their role in the formation of rhodopsin as well as the conversion process of rhodopsin. Wald was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1967, jointly with R. Granit and H. Hartline.


The Molecular Basis of Visual Excitation. Stockholm, 1968. (Nobel lecture.)
“Filogeniia i ontogeniia na molekuliarnom urovne.” In Evoliutsionnaia biokhimiia, III, pages 19–58. Moscow, 1962. (Trudy V Mezhdunarodnogo Biokhimicheskogo kongressa.)


Fiziologiia sensornykh sistem, part 1: Fiziologiia zreniia. Leningrad, 1971. (Handbook of physiology.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Wald, George

(1906–  ) biochemist; born in New York City. He was a research fellow at the University of Chicago and in Europe (1932–34), then joined Harvard (1934–77). While in Berlin (1933), he discovered vitamin A in the retina; in subsequent research he determined how the retinal rod cells enable black-and-white night vision. During the late 1950s, his investigations of the three types of retinal cone cells demonstrated that these cells' color reception is due to the presence of three different protein pigments. For this work, he shared the 1967 Nobel Prize in physiology. He was a dedicated and popular lecturer who believed that the natural world is "of chance, but not accident," and described a scientist's ongoing intellectual development as that of a "learned child." He was active against the Vietnam war, the arms race, and the development of nuclear power plants.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
The question of the crustaceans' change from blue-purple when cooked has baffled biologists since the American Nobel Prize-winning physiologist George Wald first raised the question in the 1940s.
Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that "civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind." "We are in an environmental crisis which threatens the survival of this nation, and of the world as a suitable place of human habitation," wrote Washington University biologist Barry Commoner in the Earth Day issue of the scholarly journal Environment.
Furthermore, the society has never presented Congress with the scientific data necessary to support regulation of a wide range of carcinogens, prompting a group of 24 scientists, including Nobel laureate George Wald of Harvard University, to charge the agency with doing "little to protect the public from cancer-causing chemicals in the environment and workplace."
Readers informed in the complexities of post-biblical, medieval, and modern philosophical and theological developments will be impressed with the turnings of Goodman's argument as he moves through the Post-Enlightenment, coming to rest in such thinkers of immanentism, experience, and process as Henri Bergson and Charles Hartshorne, and even in scientific and political luminaries such as George Wald and Vaclav Havel.
Some liberal writers and scientists, like Kurt Vonnegut and Nobel prize-winning scientist George Wald, are often quite supportive of Soviet foreign policy initiatives.
He had a life-long friendship with his much-loved Harvard Biology professor and mentor George Wald. He learned from George that "the really difficult but exciting and important part of life is sensing what questions are important to ask and determining how to ask them intelligently so that the correct answers come out as a matter of course."

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