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WALTER M. ELSASSER March 20, ~ 904-October ~ 4, ~ 991 BY HARRY RUBIN WALTER ELSASSER WAS TRAINED as a theoretical physicist ant! macle several important contributions to funcia- mental problems of atomic physics, inclucling interpreta- tion of the experiments on electron scattering by Davisson en cl Germer as an effect of cle Broglie's electron waves and recognition of the shell structure of atomic nuclei. Circum- stances later turned his interests to geophysics, where he had important insights about the radiative transfer of heat in the atmosphere and fatherec} the generally accepted cly- namo theory of the earth's magnetism. He clevotect a major part of the last fifty years of his life to (developing a theory of organisms, concentrating on the basic features that clis- tinguish between living and inanimate matter, and he pro- clucecl four books on the subject. While his contribution to biology was not wiclely acknowlecigecI, he felt it wouIcI even- tually be seen as his major scientific achievement. BACKGROUND AND YOUTH Walter was born in Mannheim, Germany, the oIcler of two children of Maurice and Johanna Elsasser. His sister, Maria, was three years younger than him. His grandparents were prosperous Jewish merchants, but his father was a law- 103

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04 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS yer who was caught up in the great wave of assimilation and both parents became nonpracticing Protestants. Walter was confirmed! in the Evangelical Church and had no iclea of his Jewish ancestry until the age of fifteen when an ac- quaintance unexpectecITy askocl him about it. His father gave evasive answers when he inquired about his ancestry, ant! it took about a year to learn the truth. Up to this time he had no notion of Jews as a separate group, but his Jewish iden- tity was to prove a crucial factor for him in the rising title or anusem~sm that culminated in the Hitler regime. One of the first manifestations of that antisemitism occurred in his last year of high school, when he applied to join a fra- ternity at the urging of his father who thought it would help turn his son from somewhat of an ociciball into an ordinary good German citizen. His application was rejectee! on the grounds of the so-called! Nurnberg articles acloptec! in 1919 by a national organization of fraternities which speci- fiec! that persons of Jewish crescent were inadmissible. Up to the age of thirteen Walter had a congenial up- bringing, although there were severe foot! shortages be- cause of WorIcl War I. His father, then in his forties, was callecl into the German army and because he was a lawyer was given a desk job at the headquarters of the Swiss bor- cler guard. Since he had earlier clevelopecI a severe ulcer, which was exacerbated by barracks foocl, he obtained per- mission to have his family join him. When headquarters were shifted from a small town to a Konstanz, the food shortage became more severe. His father's illness became so bad he was mustered out of the army and shortly after was promoter! to a judgeship at the Superior Court of Heidel- berg. Walter attendee! Gymnasium, which hac! a nine-year cur- ricuTum, roughly equivalent to the fourth through twelfth gracles in America. The emphasis was on classical subjects

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WALTER M. ELSASSER 105 such as Latin, Greek, mathematics, history, and religion with only a smattering of physics and chemistry. This was in contrast to the alternative RealschuTe, which appeared in the nineteenth century en cl emphasized science, mathematics, ant! modern languages. He felt that the unpragmatic im- mersion into a past florid tended to bring out introverted] features that he already possessed. In any case, Germans preclominantly thought of science as a philosophical enter- prise, and Walter maintained a strong interest in the philo- sophical aspects of science throughout his career. THE ROAD TO SCIENCE Walter's first encounter with natural science came from a journal of popular science to which his father subscribed. The journal also issued a series of small books clearing with various subjects of scientific research, which he peruser! from the age of thirteen or fourteen. These were mono- graphs covering all branches of science by carefully chosen authors who knew their fielcis well and hac3 a knack for popular interpretation. He was particularly attracted to the books clearing with the mysteries of the discoveries of atoms and molecules, a curiosity that never left him. His math- ematics teacher around the eighth gracle took an intensive interest in him when he discovered Walter's interest in sci- ence and mathematics. They took Tong walks in the wooded hills arounc! Heidelberg ant! discussed everything concerned with science and the nature of scientific inquiry. In the ninth gracle, mathematics was chiefly concerned! with solicl geometry, which his teacher thought Walter could learn in a fraction of the time clevoted to it. He then suggested Walter get a book of calculus problems ant! do them in lieu of solid geometry. Walter worker! through these elaborate problems one by one and thereby acquired an extensive working knowlecige of calculus long before graduating from

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06 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS Gymnasium. He also had a fairly good intuitive understand- ing of avant garde thought in physics from the monographs on atoms and crystals, light and X rays, and stars and galax- ies, which he read twice if not more often. Walter also found books of a philosophical character in his father's library, among them Ernst Haeckel's enormously popular The Riddles of the Universe. He already recognized the book as a statement of a very coarse rationalism or straight materialism. Although he disliked Haeckel's crude philosophy, the shock he received from it opened his eyes to genuine problems in the philosophy of science, which occupied much of his thinking in later years. Under pres- sure of antisemitism he began to identify with his forebears, the authors of the Bible. These men were unanimous about one thing that the understanding of nature, man, or God was not a wholly intellectual matter. This stood in contrast to Haeckel, whose world was nothing but Haeckel-like intel- lects trying to understand the world intellectually. Stimulated by such quasi-philosophy Walter started thinking about philosophy, in particular Hegel's dictum that, when quantitative differences in some field become pronounced, they tend to turn into differences in quality. This contrasts with the view of the great philosophers of science, that the scientist in his methods has no place for qualities: they pertain to philosophy proper, usually expressed as meta- physics. An example is the notion of heat, which first ap- pears to our perceptions as a quality but which physicists have shown is motion of molecules that can in all detail account for the properties of warm and cold bodies. Philosophical thinking eventually led Walter to the real- ization that the purpose of the scientific method, which is to structure the multifarious data of experience, is neither simple nor obvious. This is apparent in the example that for thousands of years wise men studied the motions of

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WALTER M. ELSASSER 107 stars and clevelopecl complicates! mathematical descriptions for them. Arounc! 300 B.C. Aristarchos proposed that the earth rotates about itself and moves in an orbit around the sun, as did the other planets. This view was ignored as idle speculation for eighteen centuries up to Copernicus. Walter grew to realize that acceptance of scientific ideas clepencis on whether they harmonize with the prevailing icleas of society. These ideas are controlled by unconscious tenclen- cies and cannot be controlled by rational volition. He con- siclered "the current unrelieved and brutal dominance of pragmatism in science, often clothed in terms such as po- litical or other 'relevance'," a frightening development. Walter tried his hanc! briefly at the commercial enter- prise left by his grandparents. He was surprised at how much he likes! the work, primarily because it provided a frame- work for his activities. However, he had become deeply com- mittec! to scientific activity and die! not wish to abandon the sense of intellectual adventure fount! in any scientist of an inquisitive mind. He therefore returned to science with a renewed determination to become a physicist. He entered the University of Heiclelberg, where the professor of phys- ics was Phillip Lenarc3, who hacl received the Nobel Prize several years earlier. While still in high school Walter had occasionally skipped class to attend Lenard's lectures with their admirable demonstration experiments. Lenard was actively involved in right-wing politics and was later to re- tire from his professorship to devote himself entirely to the Nazi party, ending up as president of the Nazi Academy of Sciences. But in 1922 politics was far from Walter's mind when he enterer! the large lecture room for his first physics class. Every seat was taken as Lenard walked in wearing an impeccably tailorect suit bearing an enormous silver swas- tika. This was unusual as Germany was still a place of law anti order, and professors were not expected to brandish

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08 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS symbols of political extremism in class. But the students gave him the longest, louclest, and most cleclicated ovation Walter ever witnessed either before or after. They had clearly voted for the swastika, ant! Walter, who knew what this meant for Jews, was cleeply disturbed. A number of people acivisecl him to leave after his first year, as he would then have to enter the laboratory where Lenarc! was as likely as not to grab him by the scruff of the neck anti throw him out bodily. He therefore clecidecI in the fall of 1923 to move to Munich, by far the best university in southern Germany. There were two kingdoms of physics in Munich, one heaclec! by the noted experimentaTist Wilhelm Wien and the other by the theoretician Arnold SommerfelcI. Walter clict consid- erable experimental work in Wien's institute and enjoyed it very much. During his third semester he worked assiclu- ously on such complicated matters as the Millikan oil drop experiment and the electrostatic quadrant electrometer. But the chief influence on him was SommerfelcI, who was as brilliant a teacher as he was a research man. Walter consict- ered Sommerfeld's classes the best he ever attended. In aciclition, he participated in Sommerfelct's weekly seminar on contemporary atomic physics attended by his assistants en c! a small number of students. The seminar stimulatecI Walter to read some scientific literature on his own. He particularly rememberer! a paper by James Franck of Gottingen on spectral lines that involved highly excited states of gaseous atoms. Calculations inclicatect orbits of the elec- trons that were incomprehensible from a simple mechani- cal point of view. This proviclec! an unexpected glimpse into a different orcler of nature in the minute dimensions of the atom that wouIcl soon be expressed in the mathematical language of quantum mechanics. In Munich Walter overIappecl for one semester with Werner Heisenberg, who then obtained his Ph.D. and went on to

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WALTER M. ELSASSER 109 Gottingen. On several occasions he heard Heisenberg say that doing physics was fun. This came as a great revelation to Walter, who hac! grown up in the stolid environment of the German micictle class and who conic! think of scientific research only as a matter of duty or personal ambition or just to make money. The insight of cloing science for the fun of it left Walter exhilarates! ant! cleeply impressed. Walter became fond of traveling and hiking during his ..~ .. . years in southern Germany. While in Munich he took many weekend trips to the fore-Alps, staying in the numerous inexpensive youth hostels and hiking on the innumerable traits to the top of the mountains, often 2 kilometers high. He clecidect to become an experimental physicist, but early in his third semester in Munich an assistant professor ap- proached him with the advice that every single member of the faculty of Wien's institute asicle from the director ant! himself were card-carrying members of the Nazi party. It was, of course, in Munich in November 1923 that the abor- tive beer hall putsch by Hitler and Luclendorff, the former chief of staff of the German army cluring World War I, took place. Munich wouIc3 therefore not be a favorable place for Walter to continue to work toward his Ph.D. He suggester! that Gottingen was not only very good but "full of Jews." Walter asked Sommerfelct to write a letter of introduction to James Franck, whose work had so intrigued him, and he at once acceclec! to Walter's visit. When he arrivecl in Gottingen early in 1925, Franck accepted him almost im- mecliately as one of his Ph.D. cancliclates. THE WORLD OF GOTTINGEN Walter cleveloped a close relationship with James Franck, whom he admired greatly. Franck kept his office open, and Walter often founc! himself sitting on one end of an old battered sofa in lively discussion with Franck at the other

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0 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS end. Franck's main interest was in the study of atoms and molecules by the simplest means possible, electrons and light. He hacl already shown that electrons transfer energy strictly in lumps or packages and hacI received the Nobel Prize for this achievement in 1925 along with his younger collaborator Gustav Hertz. Walter received for his thesis the subject of fluorescence, whereby one quantum of light is absorbed while another slightly different energy is emitted. While he was making technical preparations for this thesis work he would drop in now and then to Franck's office to question him about atomic physics, ant! Walter came to regard Franck as his main teacher of science. Max Born, the theoretician, was also a professor in Gottingen and the growing international reputation of Born anct Franck attracted many foreign students, among them Robert Oppenheimer, Robert Brocle, H. P. Robertson, and Patrick Blackett. Paul Dirac was a frequent visitor. Walter also hac! close interactions with German students in the institute ant! developer! close friendships with Fritz Houtermans ant! Wolfgang Harries. There were many inter- esting lectures in physics, especially theoretical physics. One course was a seminar titled "The Structure of Matter," which playecl a germinal role in the (levelopment of quantum mechanics. Although the seminar was Tong listecI under the name of Davis! Hilbert, the famous mathematician, he was no longer active en cl its conduct was left to Max Born. Walter was a regular attendant at the seminar throughout his stay ~ - - ~n ~ott~ngen. One of the earliest presentations in this seminar was by Born's student, Friecirich HuncI, who later made major con- tributions to the theory of atomic spectra. The report was about an experiment of Davisson and Kunsman, two physi- cists at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York. They shot electrons at a platinum plate and observed how they were

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WALTER M. ELSASSER 111 scattered back. They found that the intensity of the distri- bution of the electrons varied with the angle of scattering, showing maxima and minima. This was a mysterious and quite surprising result, but the source was unimpeachable. Born tried to explain the result by the variable deflection of the extraneous electrons by shells of electrons that were of different densities. Without calculations it was impos- sible to know whether this suggestion was correct. One clay in May 1925 Walter found in the library two recent papers by Einstein on the effect of quantum theory on gases. Einstein shower! that certain gases behaved like assemblies of waves rather than particles. Twenty years earlier Einstein hac! noted that light, which everyone thought to be of wave motion, also had particle properties and that light was emitted and absorbect in packets called quanta. Coming from Einstein this was highly significant news. Einstein then noted a the- sis of Louis cle Broglie, which Walter found in the univer- sity library. The thesis contained de Broglie's basic iclea that all primary components of matter have wave proper- ties ant! presented a simple formula connecting the wave length with the particle's velocity. Walter wonclerecl whether Davisson and Kunsman's maxima and minima were cliffrac- tion phenomena similar to those produced by X rays pen- etrating crystals but produced by a slight penetration and reflection of the electrons. He easily calculated the energy of the electrons required for the maxima, en cl it came out just right. Since the experiments were still crucle, his sur- mise was only a guess but an exceptionally interesting and promising one. Walter talked with Franck about the problem and was encouraged by his opinion that the idea was interesting though speculative. Franck suggested Walter think it through carefully and write to Naturwissenschaften. A few weeks later he ctic! so and, after receiving Franck's approval, sent it off.

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112 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS He later learner! that the paper was reviewer! by Einstein, who incticated that he was not sure how literally the idea of waves associated with electrons should be taken but thought the paper shouIcT certainly be publishecI, which it was shortly thereafter. In print it became a note about half a page in the folio-sized volume. Heisenberg wrote to Wolfgang Pauli about the importance of Walter's note, and it was repro- cluced by Max von Laue in 1944 in a book on matter waves. In 1927 the decisive publication of Davisson and Germer appearec! which clemonstratecT the wave character of elec- trons without a doubt. The authors referrer! to Schroclinger's famous papers of 1926 but not to Walter's note. Born pub- lishecI an article in 1926 in which he treated the collision of an electron with an atom as the scattering of a cle Broglie wave and then developecl a whole mathematical machinery for wave scattering. In this article Born introduced the no- tion of probability for the first time in quantum mechanics; he proposed that the wave function was a statistical guide for the particles in the sense that the amplitude of the wave specifies a probability for the particle to travel in certain ways. At the end of the paper Born quoted Walter's note saying he hacI correctly interpreted the experimental re- sults of Davisson and Kunsman. Publication of his note turned Walter's head anc! he asked Fran ck if he could experiment with the scattering of elec- trons by metal surfaces. This was quite foolish because that type of experiment is technically very clifficult, and Walter's skill was not up to it. Franck agrees! as Tong as he wouic} do it on his own, since Franck wouIcl not allow his group to engage in highly speculative exercises. Walter tried it for three months before he realized how silly it was for an inexperienced! young man to undertake such formiciably difficult experiments on his own. Among Franck's six or eight graduate students, Walter

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WALTER M. ELSASSER 113 felt he was the least successful at buiTcling apparatus, a skill that was essential to an experimental physicist of those days. He also recognized that he was the most passionately inter- estecl in ant! most knowledgeable about physical theory. This was apparently recognized by Max Born, who, in the summer of 1926, asker] Walter if he wouicI consider becom- ing a theoretical physicist en c! doing a thesis with him. Af- ter consulting with Franck he decided to accept the offer and undertook an uncomplicated study of the collision of an electron with a hydrogen atom. This involves! straight- forward mathematical techniques with a large pile of for- mulas and offered few difficulties to Walter. He had few opportunities to discuss his work with Born, who worker! at home ant! exhibited little interest in seeing students. Walter was fortunate at this stage to have the help of Robert Oppenheimer, who couIcl steer him to the proper place in a mathematical book when difficulties dicl arise. One con- versation with Born Walter rememberer! well. Born, who was a mathematical virtuoso, told Walter that he was not outstanding in mathematics but strong in conceptual thought, where Born felt less secure. A common iclea is that concep- tual thought precedes precise mathematical analysis: mod- els ant! patterns emerge out of the primal chaos of data and thoughts of human experience and often cannot be preclictecI. Walter had aIreacly recognized that his great strength lay in conceptual thought, ant! his self-confidence grew stronger with age, so he fearer! no competition in this area. Walter chose astronomy and mathematics as his required minors in the Ph.D. program. The astronomy, which was mainly astrophysics, confirmed! the icleas of the uniformity of atomic physics anc! its laws. Mathematics in Gottingen involved some of the great men of the fielcI. It had been establisher! there by Carl Friecirich Gauss, one of the most

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56 BIOGRAPHICAL EMOIRS the maintenance of information is so powerful that many species do not change their species-specific characteristics for millions of generations. These thoughts lee! Walter to formulate a holistic set of principles to represent the living state. These principles are not scientific laws in the usual sense since they are not clerivable from the mathematics of quantum mechanics. They define that which is in the form of regularities but not determined by atomic en cl molecular physics. The basic as- sumption in his holistic interpretation is that "an organism , ~ Lor a cell] is a source (or sometimes a sink) of causal chains which cannot be traced beyond a terminal point because they are lost in the unfathomable complexity of the organ- ism for cells." The basic principles of organisms as listed in his 1987 book are the following: 1. The first principle is orclerec! heterogeneity. Combina- torial analysis shows that the number of structural arrange- ments of atoms in a cell is immense; that is, much greater that 10~, a number that is itself much larger than the number of elementary particles in the universe (108~. But biology shows us there is regularity in the large where there is heterogeneity in the small, hence artier above heteroge- neity. This concept of ordered heterogeneity was first intro- cluced by the molecular biologist Rollin Hotchkiss, system- atized by the embryologist Paul Weiss, but given quantitative definition and set in a general theory by Walter. 2. The second principle is creative selection. A choice is macle in nature among the immense number of possible patterns inferred in the first principle. The availability of such a choice is consi(lered the basic and irreplaceable cri- terion of holistic or nonmechanistic biology. The term "cre- ative" refers to phenomena that, like everything in biology, are compatible with the laws of physics but are not uniquely

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WALTER M. ELSASSER 157 determined by them. No mechanism can be specified by whose operation those selected differ from those not se- lectecI. He points out that the number of different patterns is also immense in the physical science of statistical me- chanics, but in that case the variation of structure from pattern to pattern averages out. The patterns of inorganic systems repeat themselves over and over again ace infinitum, while those of each organism are unique. The selection of a relatively small number of organisms from the immense number of possibilities allowed by quantum mechanics is a primary expression of biological order and is the scientific counterpart of the term "creativity" used in ordinary lan- guage. 3. The third! principle is holistic memory. It provides the criterion for choice not expressed in the second principle. That criterion is information stability. The term "memory" in a generalized sense indicates stability of information in time or, as in the case of heredity, the reproduction of information in an emplrlca sense, that IS, Wit rout our ~now- ing the full mechanism of reproduction. The creative selec- tion of the second principle means the organism has many more states to choose from than are actually neeclecI. The thirc! principle says the organism uses this freedom to cre- ate a pattern that resembles earlier patterns. Walter bor- rowec! the term "memory without storage" from the phi- losopher Henri Bergson, who was considering the memory function of the brain in his book Matter and Memory. Walter consiclere(1 holistic memory an epistemological innovation that was the touchstone of his theoretical scheme but real- izect that it might seem like black magic to many of his readers. However, he noted that the concept is free from internal contradiction while it obviously runs counter to habitual thought. In that formal sense it is no different from the concept of the antipodes, which wouicl have been

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58 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS inconceivable before Newton since the people in Australia should have fallen off the earth. Memory without storage is consiclerecl as transmission of morphological features through time without a material memory crevice, just as relativity is based on the transmission of signals through space without a materia carrier. 4. Holistic memory requires a fourth principle, operative symbolism, to indicate that a material carrier of informa- tion is needled, namely DNA, but this acts as a releaser or operative symbol for the capacity of the whole organism to reconstruct a complete message that characterizes the aclult of the next generation. Walter was sketchy and superficial about the fourth principle and consiclerec! it in the nature of a specific cletail. In other words, operative symbolism is not necessary to the clevelopment of the postulational sys- tem of the first three principles that can c30 away with the conceptual clifficulties and internal contradictions that al- ways appear in any purely mechanistic interpretation of or- ganic life. The informational system of organisms is there- fore postulated to be clualistic; on one level it is mechanistic in the operation of the genetic code; on the other level it is holistic, involving the entire cell or organism. Walter's epistemological revision for the life sciences has been ignores] by most biologists and attacked by some. The coo} en cl sometimes downright hostile response of the bi- ologists is probably relater! to the challenge presenter! to the basic preconceptions, often subconscious, that underlie their present moclus operancli. The most pervasive of these preconceptions is that biology is ultimately an extension of physics and chemistry and can be stuclied in an analogous manner. Walter's theoretical innovations require a novel experimental approach that is just beginning to take shape to clear with the holistic aspects of cell ancl organismic be-

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WALTER M. ELSASSER 159 havior. Despite the difficulties, his thought has found strong support from a few outstanding biologists such as Leslie Foulds and Paul Weiss. It has also met with approval from some notables among theoretical physicists, including Pauli and Wigner, and from the information theorist L. Brillouin. Perhaps his strongest support has come from Frederick Seitz, a student of Wigner's in the early 1930s and a founder of modern solid-state physics. Seitz spent a decade as presi- dent of the Rockefeller University, where he was in continu- ous contact with many of the most creatively active indi- viduals in molecular and cell biology and was impressed with their ingenuity. However, he was struck by the com- parative rigidity of their molecular concepts and their enor- mous confidence (or overconfidence) that reductionism To would lead to an understanding of all aspects of living sys- tems. Flying in the face of these attitudes was the fact that the picture of such systems that was evolving at the molecu- lar level was becoming ever more complex with each new major phase of development. Seitz felt that the outlook of the molecular biologists was somewhat reminiscent of the attitude of some nineteenth-century physicists who believed that the universe was a gigantic clockwork governed by the laws of classical physics. Ironically, Seitz's own work pro- vides the theoretical foundation for the currently fashion- able field of structural biology. While musing on the situa- tion in biology he came upon Walter's work, which he considered a "profound analysis of the status of biological systems in the physical world." He felt that the biological community had "to a substantial degree lost sight of the forest for the trees and presumably will continue to do so until it is forced to reexamine its own foundations either through the appearance of obvious paradoxes or because it becomes enmeshed in unresolvable complexity or both." When that time comes, he is "certain that the profoundness

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60 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS of Walter's work will be appreciated and will form a signif~- cant part of the cornerstone of unclerstancling of living sys- tems by the biological community." Walter's work has aIreacly formed the cornerstone of my own unclerstancting of living systems through its effect on my clay-to-day work with cells in culture. A major feature of the behavior of cells dissociatecl from the organism and from one another is their radical heterogeneity in a large variety of behavioral anc! physico-chemical properties. This was anticipate<] in Walter's principle of ordered heteroge- neity but appeared experimentally at the cellular level rather than the molecular level which most concerned him. An- other feature of these cells in Walter's terms is their fragil- ity, so they change their growth behavior in a striking ant! encluring fashion in response to small physiological cliffer- ences in their environment. These responses are foreshac3- owe(1 in Walter's principle of creative selection, which ~ moclif~ed to progressive state selection to image cellular be- havior. Paracloxically, the behavior of some cells, clepend- ing on their initial state, is extremely stable, so that both fragility and stability are subsumed in the same system, as full consideration of Walter's theory would suggest. This goes along with his insight that there are no "yes/no" or purely arithmetic answers in the behavior of living systems. All clepends on the initial state of the cells and the pertur- bations to which they are subjected. On a personal note, his philosophical analysis liberated me from the recluction- ist strictures that clominate biological thought anc! allowecl me to acknowlecige and organize the actual behavior of cells as seen every clay before my own eyes rather than sweep the frequently inconvenient behavior under the rug. There is no doubt in my mind that Walter was correct in the evaluation he left with his own collected papers in the Johns Hopkins library that, although he was best known for

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WALTER M. ELSASSER 161 his work in geophysics, his controversial ideas in theoretical biology were what historians would want to study. ~ believe his ideas will play a central role in the future clevelopment of biology. WALTER ELSASSER S Memoirs of a Physicist in the Atomic Age was the ma- jor source of information used here in describing his life up to 1974. His sister, Maria Lindberg, and Eugene Parker of the Univer- sity of Chicago provided some personal insights. Peter Olson of Johns Hopkins provided a description of Walter's work on geomag- netism and plate tectonics. Frederick Seitz, formerly president of Rockefeller University, contributed his thoughts on Walter's bio- logical work. Most of the section on that work was derived from Walter's published biological writings and from his extensive corre- spondence with me between 1981 and 1991. My wife, Dorothy Rubin, helped in every phase of preparing this memoir. NOTE 1. The Chemistry of Organic Compounds, 2nd ea., Ch. 20. New York: MacMillan, 1947.

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62 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS HONORS 1932 Research Prize of the German Physical Society 1957 Member, National Academy of Sciences 1971 John A. Fleming Medal, American Geophysical Union 1972 Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences 1977 Gauss Medal, Braunschweig, Germany, (200th Anniversary of Gauss's birth) 1979 Penrose Medal (USA) 1987 National Medal of Science

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WALTER M. ELSASSER SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY ATOMIC AND NUCLEAR PHYSICS 1925 Bemerkungen zur Quantenmechanik Naturwissenschaften 13:711. 1928 163 frier Elektronen. Interfernzerscheinungen an Korpuskularstrahlen. Natunvissenschaften 16:720. 1933 A possible property of the positive electron. Nature 131:674. 1935 Energies de laison des noyaux lourdes. [. Phys. (Paris) 6:473. Theorie de la capture selective des neutrons rents par certains noyaux. J. Phys. (Paris) 6:194. 1937 The self-consistent field and Bohr's nuclear model. Phys. Rev. 51:55. GEOPHYSICS 1938 New values for the infrared absorption coefficients of atmospheric water vapor. Mon. Weather Rev. 68:175. 1942 Heat Transfer by Infrared Radiation in the Atmosphere. A Monograph. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 1947 Induction effects in terrestrial magnetism, III. Phys. Rev. 72:821. 1950 The earth's interior and geomagnetism. Rev. Mod. Phys. 22:1.

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164 BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIRS 1955 With H. Takeuchi. Non-uniform rotation of the earth and geomag- netic drift. Trans. Am. Geophys. Union 36:584. 1956 Hydromagnetism, II. A Review. Am. J. Phys. 24:85. 1959 With H. C. Urey and M. G. Rochester. Note on the internal struc- ture of the moon. Astrophys. jr. 129:842. 1968 The mechanics of continental drift. Proc. Am. Philos. Soc. 112:344. THEORETICAL BIOLOGY 1958 The Physical Foundation of Biology, An Analytical Study. New York: Pergamon Press. 1966 Atom and Organism, A New Approach to Theoretical Biology. Princeton, Nisi.: Princeton University Press. 1969 Acausal phenomena in physics and biology; a case for reconstruc- tion. Am. Sci. 57:502-16. 1970 The role of individuality in biological theory. In Towards a Theoreti- cal Biology, vol. III, ed. C. H. Waddington. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 1975 The Chief Abstractions of Biology. New York: Elsevier.

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WALTER M. ELSASSER 165 1981 Principles of a new biological theory: a summary. {. Theor. Biol. 89:131-50. A form of logic suited for biology. Prog. Theor. Biol. 6:23-62. 1982 The other side of molecular biology. [. Theor. Biol. 96:67-76. 1984 Outline of a theory of cellular heterogeneity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 81:5126-29. 1987 ReQections on a Theory of Organisms. Frelighsburg, Quebec: Orbis Pub- lishing. AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL 1978 Memoirs of a Physicist in the Atomic Age. New York: Neale Watson Academic Publications, Inc.

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