The Martin Rodbell Collection
Biographical Information Documents Visuals Exhibit
Early Work in Cellular Metabolism, 1956-1969
Signal Transduction and the Discovery of G-Proteins, 1969-1980
Cells as "Programmable Messengers," 1981-1994
The Nobel Prize and Other Awards ...
All Visuals In many respects, my career and my experiences with people and events have been seamless in that I cannot separate one from another. Without doubt, the thread of one's life should be within the matrix of the total human experience. Les Prix Nobel Martin Rodbell was born on December 1, 1925, in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of a grocer. For the rest of his life, he proudly identified with his native city as a self-described "Baltimoron." In his teens, Rodbell attended Baltimore City College, a "magnet" public high school with a strong liberal arts tradition, and entered The Johns Hopkins University in 1943. Although he was clearly taken with science as a vocation, at Hopkins he followed two seemingly disparate fields of interestbiology and French existential literatureboth of which had an enormous impact on his intellectual development. Rodbell maintained a strong love of literature and poetry throughout his life, often penning verses for important occasions. Rodbell's studies at Hopkins were interrupted in 1944 when he left college for war service as a Navy radio operator. In 1946, he resumed his studies and earned a B.S. in biology in 1949. Rodbell remained at Hopkins for another year to take postgraduate courses in chemistry. In 1950, he married Barbara Ledermann, a German-born dancer and photographer; later that same year, the Rodbells moved to Seattle so that Martin could enter the Ph.D. program in biochemistry at the University of Washington. Over the course of the following decade, the Rodbells had four children: Paul, Suzanne, Andrew, and Phillip.