Derek S. Linton, Professor of History, received the John Frederick Lewis Award from the American Philosophical Society at its annual awards dinner Nov. 11 in Philadelphia.
The award honors his book “Emil von Behring: Infectious Disease, Immunology, Serum Therapy,” which is the first major English-language biography of Behring, who won the first Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1901 for diphtheria antitoxin serum.
The John Frederick Lewis Award was established in 1935 and recognizes the best work published by the Society each year. The American Philosophical Society, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743, is the oldest learned society in the United States.
The $3,000 prize was accompanied by what Linton called “an enormous certificate.”
Linton, who joined the HWS faculty in 1984, holds a bachelor's degree from Brooklyn College and his master's and doctoral degrees from Princeton University.
He is also the author of “Who Has the Youth, Has the Future,” published by Cambridge University Press in 1991, which deals with German youth policy in the early 20th century, and numerous articles. He regularly teaches courses including Making of the Modern World, Nazi Germany, Age of Dictators, World Wars in Global Perspective, Medicine and Public Health in Modern Europe, and Darwin and the Darwinian Revolution. He is a member of the American Association for the History of Medicine, the American Historical Association and the German Studies Association.
Although Behring (1854-1917) is best known for the discovery and development of serum therapy for diphtheria and tetanus, Linton’s biography also emphasizes his contributions to the study of infectious diseases, basic immunology and drug testing. It explores his relations to the rival schools of Pasteur and Koch, the emergent pharmaceutical industry and the creation of institutes for experimental therapeutic research. The second part of the book contains translations of 13 major articles by Behring and his associates spanning 30 years of his remarkable scientific career.