One Health Seminar Series Presents ‘Experiment Eleven’

Courtesy: Peter Pringle. Pringle details the tuberculosis cure discovery and the challenges Schatz, the discoverer, faced in receiving credit for his findings.

Apr 12, 2019

Peter Pringle will be presenting his lecture, “Experiment Eleven—Dark Secrets in the Discovery of a Wonder Drug,” at Delaware Valley University on Tuesday, April 23. The event will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Life Sciences Building auditorium. All are welcome, and there is no cost to attend. Guests do not need to register in advance.

In 1943, Albert Schatz, a young Ph.D. student at Rutgers Agricultural College in New Jersey, was working on a wartime project testing bacteria from farmyard soil when he discovered streptomycin, a new antibiotic and the first effective drug against tuberculosis.

Schatz’s professor, Selman Waksman, claimed credit for the discovery and secretly enriched himself with royalties from the patent filed by Merck. The young Schatz fought back and the result was one of the most vicious battles for credit of a major discovery in the history of science. Schatz won the title of “co-discoverer” and a share of the royalties, but in 1952, Waksman alone was awarded a Nobel Prize. Schatz was a researcher for two years at the National Agricultural College, now Delaware Valley University, and then disappeared into academic obscurity.

The gripping, scandalous narrative unfolds on the tiny Rutgers campus, but the repercussions spread worldwide. The streptomycin patent was a breakthrough for the drug companies, overturning patent limits on products of nature and paving the way for today’s Big Pharma. “Experiment Eleven” is a classic study of researchers in science who do the hard work, but never reap the glory.

“Like the best of dramas [Experiment Eleven] reaches outwards to illuminate scientific behavior at the time, and forwards to change our perceptions of scientific ethics today.” — Current Biology

The Delaware Valley University bookstore will be selling copies of “Experiment Eleven” at the lecture.  A book signing will follow the event.

About the Speaker

Peter Pringle, author and journalist, holds a B.A. and M.A. from Oxford University. He is a fellow of the Linnean Society of London.  Pringle is a veteran British foreign correspondent and the author and co-author of several non-fiction books, including “Those Are Real Bullets,” “Food Inc,” and, most recently, “Experiment Eleven.” He was on the staff of London Sunday Times, The Observer and The Independent. Pringle has covered Africa, the Middle East, the United States and the former Soviet Union. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic, and The Nation. He has written one thriller, “Day of the Dandelion.” Pringle is now writing a second thriller, “Hair of the Cat,” about the 2018 poisoning of a former Soviet double agent. He lives in New York City.

About One Health

One Health is a multi-disciplinary approach that works locally, regionally, nationally and globally to attain optimal well-being for people and society, the environment and plants, and animals. Together, the three major components make up the One Health triad, and the well-being of each is inextricably linked to the others in the triad. For more information on the One Health Seminar Series, please visit