H o t c h k i s s R e c o r d : N o v e m b e r 6 , 1 9 5 2
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This year Dr. Selman A. Waksman was given the Nobel Prize for his discovery of streptomycin, the drug now used in conquering of tuberculosis and other diseases.
We would like to note that the 1945 Nobel Prize was given to the three co-inventors or discovers of Denicillin. It was split jointly among them. There is some question in many minds if the Council of the Caroline Institute in Stockholm, who review the contestants for this prize and who decide on whom it is to be bestowed, have carefully considered the overwhelming facts that show that Streptomycin was not the disovery of Dr. Waksman alone, but rather the joint discovery of Dr. Waksman and Dr. Albert Schatz, Professor of Microbiology at the National Agriculture College in Pennsylvania.
The documental proof of this is abundant. Reviewing the history of the discovery will show this.
The first cultures of Actinomyces griseus that were found to produce Streptomycin were isolated by Dr. Schatz in 1943 and 1944. Dr. Waksman had produced a like substance, but it was examined and found to contain no Streptomycin. In a report to the Nobel Council it says "The antibiotic streptomycin was not known to exist before the work of Dr. Schatz in 1943 and 1944."
The discovery was published in a thesis for which Dr. Schatz was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree. It was accepted by Rutgars and by Dr. Waksman as "an original investigation of a problem in the major field of study." When it was first announced to the world, Dr. Schatz was the senior author of the publication with Dr. Waksman.
The two doctors applied for a joint patent on the drug, agreeing to personally accept no part of the proceeds, if any, but to use the money for research and development of the drug and other helps for mankind. This was in the like manner that had been shown by the inventors of Penicillin. They were awarded a joint patent on September 21, 1948. Dr. Schatz signed over his patent and rights to Rutgers research and Endowment fund as he and Dr. Waksman had agreed to do. It was later found out that Dr. Waksman had an agreement to receive twenty per cent of the royalties from the drug. Dr. Schatz sued Rutgers and Dr. Waksman who had refused to give an account of how the twenty per cent given to Dr. Waksman had been spent. Before the suit was decided in court, a settlement was made and Dr. Schatz received "a substantial amount of money." In the financial agreement that was made it was written that Dr. Schatz "is entitled to credit legally and scientifically as the co-discoverer, with Dr. Selman A. Waksman, of Streptomycin."
The facts are conclusive. It is our sincere hope that the committee who must decide who is to receive this most honored prize will, upon receipt of the facts, make a joint award of the 1952 Nobel Prize to Dr. Schatz and Dr. Waksman.