News

NASA Ames pays tribute to Barry Blumberg, tamer of Hep B

On Tuesday NASA Ames Research center will pay tribute to the man who identified the Hepatitus B virus and developed the vaccine for it, Baruch "Barry" Blumberg, who died while visiting Ames in April.

Blumberg, 85, passed away April 5 while attending the International Lunar Research Park Exploratory Workshop at Ames as a featured speaker. A NASA Ames spokesperson said Blumberg had a heart attack during a break and died after being rushed to the hospital.

Blumberg traveled the world studying diseases in the 1950s and discovered the antigen for Hepatitis B in the blood of an Aboriginal Australian. He freely distributed the patent for his vaccine to promote its use as widely as possible. The blood test he developed has also kept Hepatitis B from spreading through blood transfusions.

Blumberg shared the 1976 Nobel Prize with D. Carleton Gajdusek for their work on the "origin and dissemination of infectious viral diseases."

"Barry Blumberg was a great biochemist and researcher," said Ames Center Director Pete Worden in a press release. "He was a leading light in the scientific community and a great humanitarian. He also was a loyal and supportive friend to NASA, Ames Research Center and the nation's space program." 

Blumberg, a native of Brooklyn and graduate of Columbia University, was also the first director of the Astrobiology Institute at Ames, from 1999 to 2002, and was a distinguished scientist at the NASA Lunar Science Institute. He began in 1977 a long-held position as professor of medicine and anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Former head of NASA Daniel Goldin will speak at the ceremony, along with Blumberg's family and NASA Ames director Pete Worden.

Tuesday's event will be webcast live at 4 p.m. on June 21 from the Exploration Center at Ames.

Comments

There are no comments yet. Please share yours below.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Grab a Bowl of Heaven soon in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 2,912 views

Don't fund the rape culture at my alma mater
By Jessica T | 36 comments | 2,549 views

Quick Check List for UC Applications
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 0 comments | 1,989 views

Palo Alto and Bay Area Election Facts and Thoughts on the Implications
By Steve Levy | 18 comments | 1,518 views

Fancy Fast and Fun!
By Laura Stec | 3 comments | 1,171 views