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Yalow, Rosalynlocked

(19 July 1921–30 May 2011)
  • Julie Des Jardins


Yalow, Rosalyn (19 July 1921–30 May 2011), medical physicist, was born Rosalyn Sussman in the Bronx, New York. Her mother, Clara (née Zipper), was born in Germany; her father, Simon Sussman, a wholesaler of packaging materials, moved his family from the Lower East Side of Manhattan to the Bronx, where his daughter stayed for most of her life. In girlhood Rosalyn contributed to the family wage by cutting out patterns for her uncle’s necktie business. Although neither of her parents went to college, she had ambitions to pursue a career in science. She learned to read before kindergarten, and when there were no books in the house, she checked them out of the public library. She attended Walton High School before entering Hunter College of the City University of New York. At Hunter, she saw guest lecturer Enrico Fermi speak on radioisotopes and urged administrators to inaugurate a physics major. The year was 1939; by January 1941 she had become the first student to complete the nascent physics program, graduating magna cum laude at the age of nineteen....

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