• Meyer Grunberg

Birthday of Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, 1921

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

On This Day in Jewish History: July 19th, 1921




Rosalyn Sussman Yalow is born #onthisday. Sussman would go on to become a legendary medical physicist and the co-winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for the development of radioimmunoassay (RIA) technique.


Born in Bronx, NY and raised in a Jewish household, Sussman attended the all-female Hunter College where her mother hoped she would become a teacher - instead Sussman decided to study physics.


After graduating and spending some time working as a secretary for different university professors in bio-chemistry, she was offered a TA role in physics at University of Illinois. Here, she would be the only woman among the department's 400 members and by 1945 would earn her Ph.D


In 1943, Sussman married Aaron Yalow, fellow physics student and son of a rabbi. They had 2 children and kept a kosher home. Yalow believed strongly in keeping a work-life balance and devoted significant time to her family regardless of her work.


After WW2, the Veteran's Administration was looking into researching how radioactive substances can treat disease. By 1950, the VA Hospital in the Bronx where Yalow was working was chosen as the main research center. Along with Solomon Berson, Yalow would develop RIA to pave the way for diseases such as type-one diabetes to be clearly diagnosed. To this day, Yalow is considered the Mother of Endocrinology.


Her work in RIA merited her the Nobel Prize in Medicine becoming the first American born woman to win the award and 2nd woman all time. Yalow would go on to win a bevy of other awards for her work and is forever recognized as an individual who reached excellent levels in research, education and scientific achievement.



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