The 2010 Galston Lecture
The 2010 Arthur W. Galston Lecture took place on April 16.
Matthew S. Meselson
Thomas Dudley Cabot Professor of the Natural Sciences
Ian Sussex, Emeritus Professor, Department of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology,
William A. Galston, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, The Ezra K. Zilkha Chair in Governance Studies, The Brookings Insitution
Sidney Altman, Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and Chemistry, Yale University
About the Speaker: Born in 1930 in Denver, Colorado, Matthew Meselson received the Ph.B. degree from the University of Chicago in 1951 and the Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1957 and was Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry at CalTech before joining the Harvard faculty in 1960. Professor Meselson has conducted research mainly in molecular biology and genetics. While at CalTech, he invented an ultracentrifugal method, equilibrium density-gradient centrifugation, for analyzing the density of giant molecules. He and Franklin Stahl then used it to show that DNA replicates semi-conservatively. Together with Jean Weigle, he employed the density gradient method to show that genetic recombination in bacteriophages results from the breakage and joining of DNA molecules and, with Sydney Brenner and François Jacob, to demonstrate the existence of messenger RNA.
Since the summer of 1963 when he served as a full-time consultant in the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in Washington D.C., Professor Meselson has had an interest in arms control aspects of chemical and biological weapons and anti-CBW protection, subjects on which he has acted as consultant to various government agencies. He wrote a number of analytical papers for the White House during the review that led in 1969 and 1970 to President Richard Nixon’s decision to terminate U.S. offensive biological warfare programs and to renounce biological and toxin weapons. During August and September 1970, he led a team in the Republic of Vietnam in a pilot study of the ecological and health effects of the military use of herbicides.
Professor Meselson is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Académie des Sciences, the Royal Society and the Russian Academy of Sciences and has served on the Council of the National Academy of Sciences, the Council of the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. State Department’s Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Advisory Board and the Committee on International Security and Arms Control of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
With grateful thanks to the Lectureship Committee:
-Beth Galston, Artist; Arthur Galston’s daughter
-William Galston, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies, The Ezra K. Zilkha
Chair in Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution; Arthur Galston’s son
-Nancy Kerk Associate Director, Yale Center for Genomics & Proteomics; Associate Research Scientist, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
-Carol Pollard, Associate Director, Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics
-Thomas Pollard, Sterling Professor and Chairman, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
-James Ponet, Jewish Chaplain and Director, Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale
-David H. Smith, Director, Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics
-Ian Sussex, Senior Research Scientist, Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology