Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909-2012)
The Nobel laureate and neurobiologist was 103
Earlier in Daybreak, I linked to this obit of Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini who, in addition to have the best name of all time, won the Nobel Prize for her work in neurology. But her story is so good, I thought it warranted a post of its own. Here’s a little bit from her bio:
One of four children, Rita Levi-Montalcini was born in Turin on April 22, 1909, to Adamo Levi, an engineer, and Adele Montalcini, a painter, both Italian Jews who traced their roots to the Roman Empire. In keeping with the Victorian customs of the time, Mr. Levi discouraged his three daughters from entering college, fearing that it would interfere with their lives as wives and mothers.
It was not a future that Rita wanted. She had decided to become a doctor and told her father so. “He listened, looking at me with that serious and penetrating gaze of his that caused me such trepidation,” she wrote in her autobiography, “In Praise of Imperfection” (1988). He also agreed to support her.
She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Turin medical school in 1936. Two years later, Mussolini issued a manifesto barring non-Aryan Italians from having professional careers. She began her research anyway, setting up a small laboratory in her home to study chick embryos, inspired by the work of Dr. Hamburger, a prominent researcher in St. Louis who also worked with the embryos.
The whole story is worth your time, especially as you gear up for 2013.
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180
WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.
I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.
We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.