F. Eugene Yates
My 54 Years as a Physiologist
Having enjoyed autobiographical reports from the many very durable scientists you have been publishing in The Physiologist, I am delighted to get my turn, after I celebrated my 80th birthday last week. Your invitation and questions naturally evoked memories and reflections on the shape of my whole career, so I begin with a sketch of its six epochs, before presuming to offer fragments of ( as you put it) “wisdom to pass on to (my) younger colleagues”. I composed this reply, in outline, as I was skiing on a blue sky day, in good snow, at Park City Mountain Resort in Utah. As a result, my endorphins are high as I write.
While I was overseas serving as a Navy doctor during the Korean War, I had much time to think about the next step of my career when I got out of the service. I knew I wanted more scientific education, so I applied (by brief telegrams!) to Gene Landis, head of the Harvard Physiology Department, and to Arnold Rich in Pathology at Hopkins, seeking a post-doctoral fellowship. After a few weeks I received a telegram from Harvard accepting me, with details to follow in a letter. I accepted via return telegram immediately. (The very next day I received an acceptance from Hopkins, and had these responses reached me in reverse order I would have had a very different professional life!)