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Wald, George (18 November 1906–12 April 1997), biologist, was born on the Lower East Side of New York City to Isaac Wald, a Polish immigrant who worked as a tailor in a garment factory, and his wife, Ernestine Rosenmann Wald, originally from Bavaria. Raised in a poor Jewish household in Brooklyn, young George was encouraged by both parents to excel in school. He exhibited an early interest in science and developed a reputation in his working-class neighborhood for mechanical aptitude. In one notable instance Wald, not yet thirteen, rigged up a crystal radio so that he and his friends could listen to the 1919 World Series. During his years at the Brooklyn Manual Training High School, he improved upon an innate talent for building mechanical devices; he later noted that the skills he learned there subsequently helped him to build specialized equipment for his lab work. For recreation, Wald organized an amateur vaudeville ensemble of fellow students that performed stunts and musical comedy acts at Jewish community centers. Wald had intended to become an electrical engineer, but his success onstage suggested to him the possibility of becoming a lawyer, and following graduation in 1923 he enrolled as a prelaw student at New York University's Washington Square College, his tuition paid by family savings. He also supported himself during his college years by working summers as a crewman aboard a passenger ship sailing between New York and Argentina....