Edward Lawrie Tatum - Life and Education
Edward Lawrie Tatum, the Nobel Prize winning American geneticist, was born on 14 December 1909 in Boulder, Colorado, to Arthur Lawrie Tatum and Mabel Webb Tatum. Arthur Tatum was a Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, and was known for using picrotoxin and arsenoxide for treating barbiturate poisoning and syphilis respectively.
Edward Tatum studied at the University of Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He got a BA degree in Chemistry from the latter in 1931 and a MS degree in Microbiology in 1932. Two years later, in 1934, he received a biochemistry Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His Ph.D. thesis was on the work of nutrition and metabolism of bacteria.
After receiving his Ph.D. Tatum studied for a year at the University of Wisconsin and then in 1935 he proceeded to the University of Utrecht, Holland, on a General Education Fellowship.
Tatum was married three times; first to June Alton, secondly to Viola Kantor and thirdly to Elsie Bergland. He had two daughters, Margaret and Barbara. He died on 5 November 1975 in New York of heart failure. A chain-smoker, he had also suffered from emphysema.