Medicine: Honoring a Modern Mendel

Geneticist Barb McClintock, ignored for years, wins a Nobel

There was no morning call from Stockholm; Barbara McClintock does not have a phone. Instead, the 81-year-old geneticist learned the news by radio. "Oh, dear," she is said to have murmured. And having pronounced that judgment, the diminutive (5-ft., 100-lb.) scientist donned her usual attire—baggy dungarees, a man-tailored shirt and sturdy oxfords—and stepped out for her usual morning walk through the woods near Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island. As usual, she gathered walnuts along the way. Winning the Nobel Prize for Medicine seemed no reason to alter her schedule.

That understated response...

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