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Friday, October 04, 2013

Christian de Duve (1917-2013)

Christian de Duve died last May. He was the man who discovered peroxisomes and he did important work on other cell compartments such as lysozomes. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 but, unfortunately, his name is not as widely recognized as it should be.

I met him a few times when he was working on his book "Blueprint for a Cell" and his second book, "Vital Dust." These books explore a unique perspective on the origin of life and they should be consulted by anyone who is interested in that topic.

Read the obituary by Fred Opperdoes in PLoS Biology: A Feeling for the Cell: Christian de Duve (1917–2013). You will get to know a scientist whose life is worth celebrating.

You'll also learn how a Belgian gentleman can behave in a way that we in North America cannot yet copy. Perhaps in a few years our countries will also become civilized.
Dr. Christian de Duve remained active until the very end of his life, as this photograph taken in his last year demonstrates. He finished his last book Sept vies en une: Mémoires d'un Prix Nobel only a few months before he passed away. When he felt that both his health and strength were rapidly subsiding, he decided to end his life at the age of 95. He chose to die by an act of euthanasia, while surrounded by his children.

1 comment :

  1. A lucid person has gone in a truly compassionate country that respects people's autonomy and dignity.