Salvador Luria Biography
Birthday: August 13, 1912 (Leo)
Born In: Turin, Italy
Salvador E. Luria was an Italian microbiologist who jointly won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1969 with Max Delbrück and Alfred Hershey, for their discoveries on the replication mechanism and the genetic structure of viruses. Born in Turin, Italy, into an influential Jewish family, he attended the medical school at the University of Turin following which he served as a medical doctor in the Italian army for some time. He then proceeded to study radiology at the University of Rome where he developed an interest in bacteriophages—viruses that infect bacteria. A brilliant student, he received a fellowship to study in the United States. Italy at that time was under the fascist regime of Benito Mussolini which banned Jews from academic research fellowships. Frustrated, he moved to Paris, France. It was a politically chaotic period in Europe and the Nazi German armies invaded France in 1940, forcing Luria to escape to the United States. He continued his research in the US and soon met Delbrück and Hershey with who he conducted many experiments, including the seminal work which earned the trio the Nobel Prize. He eventually became a naturalized American citizen. Throughout his career, Luria was an outspoken political advocate and vehemently opposed war and nuclear weapon testing.