April 6, 2011
Baruch Samuel Blumberg, 1925-2011
It is a huge loss to our world, better luck, we hope should there be another world.
Nobel prize winner Barry Blumberg died suddenly yesterday, while attending a meeting on, appropriately, “how to move humanity off this world onto others,” according to Keith Cowing, writing on the NASA Lunar Science Institute site. Blumberg was a biologist awarded the Nobel prize in 1976 for discovering the Hepatitus B virus and later developing the diagnostic test for it and the vaccine. He saved innumerable lives for this work, but went on to participate in many other areas of science, including the consideration of life in universes beyond our own.
I did not know him well, but I met him a few times a couple of summers ago in a magical part of Maine, where he and his artist wife, Jean, summered every year. Barry was part of a minyan that also includes my sister, Jo Freudenheim, and her husband, Mike Frisch, and a group of friends who enjoy coming together to celebrate Shabbat. Most of the participants are scholars, and the level of intellect is very high among this group, but when Barry would talk about God, the universe, and beyond, attention was paid. He was extremely kind in manner, spoke plainly and with great curiosity about subjects beyond my understanding, instantly making me want to know more. His spirituality was apparent and inspirational. And he spoke of his family with extraordinary pride.
May the memory of Baruch Samuel Blumberg be a blessing.
Video courtesy College of Physicians