Ruth Hubbard


Biography of Ruth Hubbard

Ruth Hubbard (born 1924) is Professor Emerita of Biology at Harvard University, where she was the first woman to hold a tenured professorship position in biology.

Hubbard was born Ruth Hoffmann in Vienna, Austria and escaped Nazism as a teenager. With her family, she moved to the Boston area and she became a biologist. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1944, earning an A.B. degree in biochemical sciences. She was married tp Frank Hubbard from 1942 to 1951.

As a research fellow at Harvard in the years after World War II, she worked under George Wald, investigating the biochemistry of retinal and retinol. Wald shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1967 for his discoveries about how the eye works. She received a Ph.D. in biology from Radcliffe in 1950, and in 1952, a Guggenheim fellowship at the Carlsberg Laboratory in Copenhagen, Denmark.

During her active research career from the 1940s to the 1960s, she made important contributions to the understanding of the biochemistry and photochemistry of vision in vertebrates and invertebrates. In 1967, she and Wald shared the Paul Karrer Medal for their work in this area.

She and Wald married in 1958. Hubbard and Wald became the parents of two children: a son, musician and music historian Elijah Wald, and a daughter, Deborah Wald. She also has two grandchildren.

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