Rita Levi-Montalcini turns 102

The oldest living Nobel laureate.

From Jewdayo:

The oldest living Nobel laureate, Rita Levi-Montalcini, was born in Turin, Italy on this date in 1909. She did her award-winning work at Washington University in St. Louis, MO in the late 1940s, isolating the nerve growth factor, which plays a key role in the growth and homeostasis of nerve cells. The discovery earned the 1986 Nobel Award in physiology/medicine for her and Dr. Stanley Cohen. Levi-Montalcini had become a doctor in the 1930s after witnessing the death from cancer of a close friend, but the rise of Italian fascism forced her to conduct her research in a home laboratory (in both Italy and France) until the end of World War II. She was appointed Senator for Life in Italy’s senate in 2001, and periodically takes part in the chamber’s deliberations expressing progressive views, which has fetched many attacks on her as both a leftist and a Jew from right-wing bloggers and politicians. Her autobiography, In Praise of Imperfection, was published in 1988.

“I tell young people: Do not think of yourself, think of others. Think of the future that awaits you, think about what you can do and do not fear anything.” -Rita Levi-Montalcini

About Marc Alan Di Martino

I'm a skeptical poet, blogger, columnist, occasional cartoonist, atheist, kvetcher and all-around lovable mensch - in precisely that order. I live in Italy, a country in serious need of skeptics and secularists who will challenge the status quo. Kind of like the United States and most places on earth.
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5 Responses to Rita Levi-Montalcini turns 102

  1. Stefania Mereu says:

    She gave a talk at my school once and she made me cry.

  2. Alex says:

    She’s one grand old lady of science, is Rita Levi-Montalcini!

    Great to hear she’s still going strong at 102!

  3. Italians still have some notable citizens who aren’t a total embarrassment. We need to remind ourselves of this from time to time.

    • Alex says:

      Yes, Marc, there are some notable Italians who do not make one cringe. Trouble is they don’t get to appear on TV so often.

      Still, there is such a thing as over exposure and it can have a detrimental effect. Even so, if the embarrassing ones do eventually go, the alternatives are not too appetizing.

      Such a shame. Italy could a really great place – if it ever wakes up.



  4. She is wonderful and such an inspiration to young people.

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