Incoming Caltech President Baltimore

Rohit Khare (
Mon, 29 Sep 1997 01:24:11 -0700

[What IS it about Swarthmore ?!? :-]

Sunday, September 28, 1997=20

Biomedicine's Bionic Man=20

Among the Nation's Most Distinguished--and Controversial--Scientists,
Caltech's David Baltimore Now Faces the Dual Challenge of Leading a Premier
Research University and Vanquishing AIDS=20


For a glimpse into the soul of David Baltimore, the curious need look no
farther than the scientist's official portrait, which he chose in lieu of
the customary oil painting to hang outside the boardroom of the Whitehead
Institute for Biomedical Research, here at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology in Cambridge.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0The photograph, taken last year as Baltimore's political fort=
turned, is of note both for what the artist saw and what Baltimore as art
patron chose to preserve: an off-balance figure in black--shoulders hunched
and hands shoved in his pockets--balanced between stark shadow and bright
light. It is a portrait of someone who might be emerging from the darkness
or, just as easily, being engulfed by it. The eyes are sad, the eyebrows
heavy and arched with skepticism. He seems amused, perhaps by the studied
ambiguity of his own image.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0It could easily be a portrait of Faust, the scholar of legend=
who sold
his soul for the sum of all human knowledge. But the ambitions working
within 59-year-old Nobel Laureate David Baltimore, perhaps the most
influential biologist of his generation, are more complex than a raw
appetite for new information.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Among the youngest biologists--at age 37--to win the Nobel=
Prize, his
formal, somber manner often makes him seem among the oldest. A self-made
mandarin of science, Baltimore's practiced elegance frames a fierce pride
and a sometimes brutal intellect, softened only by his insistence that
professional criticism be leavened by personal respect.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0As a scientist, he displays an almost casual brilliance. He=
takes the
broadest possible view of what others might see as narrow questions. A
subtle administrator, he is politically adept, with a talent for building
unconventional research groups. As a policymaker, he pursues his aims
absent self-doubt and with an autocratic intelligence that leads even
friends to fret about his arrogance.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Ambitious, pragmatic, aggressive, Baltimore nonetheless=
appears to
prize principle above his own advancement--or even professional survival.
He suspended the research that eventually earned him a Nobel prize in order
to devote himself to antiwar protests, coming within a hairbreadth of
losing his race for the prize. And despite pride in his own rectitude, he
more recently weathered the appearance of fraud for almost a decade rather
than abandon a colleague accused of falsifying research data.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Now he is assuming the leadership of Caltech--one of the=
world's most
highly regarded research universities--at a time when the university is
reassessing its character and Baltimore himself is having second thoughts
about his own. The appointment of David Baltimore marks the latest step in
the public rehabilitation of a man who, in 1991 resigned from the
presidency of Rockefeller University in New York under pressure from
colleagues and members of Congress.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0For a time, Baltimore faced the ruin of almost everything he =
his reputation for probity, his position as an academic leader and the
respect of his peers. Then, in barely a year, he was exonerated formally of
any stigma of scientific impropriety by a federal appeals board, named to
coordinate the federal effort to develop an AIDS vaccine and, most
recently, appointed president of Caltech.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0It is a breathtaking reversal in public fortunes.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"It is even more breathtaking," Baltimore says, "to live=
through it."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Given his formidable public presence, Baltimore in private is
unexpectedly genial. He is a considerate dinner companion with an intimate
knowledge of the fashionable restaurants, espresso bars and basement cigar
dens of Boston's renovated Italian North End. He is particular about wines,
favors his single malt whiskey with a single ice cube and drives a
late-model Audi.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Like a number of his generation's biologists, who benefited=
from the
early 1980s boom in biotechnology stocks, science has made Baltimore a
relatively wealthy man. He has been an active consultant.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0With his wife, Dr. Alice Huang, he shares a luxury duplex con=
on Union Wharf, which has a commanding view of Boston harbor and is only a
few hundred yards from the berth of the USS Constitution. The meticulous
decor of their Boston condo underscores his interest in the arts. A
free-standing glass sculpture by Rhode Island artist Howard Ben Tre rises
at the top of a spiral staircase. A large scarlet Chinese ceremonial drum,
purchased on a trip to Singapore, dominates the living room. The couple
also owns vacation homes in Montana and Wood's Hole, Mass. At Caltech, they
will live in the president's official residence. (Their daughter, Teak, a
recent Yale graduate, lives in New York.)=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Baltimore is a rare combination of accomplished scientist and
experienced administrator, colleagues say. He was founding director of
MIT's $127-million Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, which
today--with 14 senior scientists and an annual research budget of $35
million--is one of the nation's leading science centers. He was president
of Rockefeller University in New York from 1990 through 1991. And he is
chief of the vaccine research effort for the National Institutes of Health.=

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0But Baltimore has never run anything so large or diverse as C=
Indeed, the Rockefeller, which focuses on biomedical issues, does not even
have an undergraduate student body. And he is a stranger to the U.S. space
program, which, in the form of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and its 5,000
employees, is a major part of Caltech. It will be the first time that he
will try to manage so many interests and so much expertise beyond his own
field of biomedicine.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Now, for the second time in a decade, Baltimore is leaving Bo=
where he has spent so much of his career, to take the reins of a major
research university. There is an adage that holds there are no second acts
in American life, but Baltimore is confident he will prove it wrong.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"The experiment is that here I am--a functioning scientist--t=
over the reins of a university," Baltimore says. "I will be, I believe, the
only functioning scientist who is running a major university in the United

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"But if it was not a challenge, why do it?"=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0In choosing Baltimore, Caltech acknowledged that it is=
seeking a more
prominent voice in the debates over the future of science when, more than
at any time in recent memory, the place of basic scientific research in the
affairs of the nation is in flux. It also signals the growing importance of
biology research.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0And the school's choice of president is one way it is bracing=
for the
rapid changes in funding and educational priorities facing all
universities, says Caltech engineering professor and former provost Paul C.
Jennings, who was on the faculty search committee that selected Baltimore:
"Caltech needs to position itself for the future. The relationship that has
existed between science and the federal government since World War II has

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"We need visionary leadership."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Biologist and search committee member David Anderson agrees:=
"We can't
just simply steer the course and do what we have been doing."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0They could hardly have picked a more public figure. There has=
been an issue of import to biology or biomedical research in which
Baltimore has not been involved.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0From debates over the safety of genetic engineering and the i=
of AIDS research, to more recent bitter public battles over fraud in
science, colleagues say Baltimore has never hesitated to use his stature as
a biologist, the prestige of his Nobel prize and his skill as an
administrator in an effort to shape the course of American science.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0At the same time--and perhaps with equal=
dedication--Baltimore has
worked to make himself an arbiter of the high society of science. "David is
interested in his national and international persona," says Nobel
Prize-winning biologist Phillip Sharp, director of the Center for Cancer
Research at MIT. "His public perception and reputation are important to=

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0When, for example, American scientists tried to avert a=
hunger strike
by Soviet dissident and physicist Andrei D. Sakharov in 1981, Baltimore was
among those who wrote to Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev. And when Pope
John Paul II wanted to caution President Ronald Reagan that same year on
the danger of nuclear weapons, Baltimore was one of four scientists the
pontiff appointed to carry his message.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0But it is as an activist in the policy affairs of science=
over the
past 25 years that Baltimore has left his most indelible mark--and where he
hopes to make an impact as president of Caltech.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"No matter how we in the West Coast science establishment=
pretend it
is not true, the East Coast science establishment is really much closer to
the centers of money and power," says Stanford University cancer biologist
Irving L. Weissman. "David moves easily in those spheres. I wonder how much
he can affect the balance of power . . . and how well he can adapt."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0In a lifetime of policy jousts, Baltimore has gathered powerf=
allies, among them Maxine Singer, president of the Carnegie Institution in
Washington; NIH director Harold Varmus; Bruce Alberts, head of the National
Academy of Sciences; and Stanford University Nobel Laureate Paul Berg. He
has acquired influential opponents as well: Nobel Prize-winning Harvard
biologist Walter Gilbert and Nobel Laureate James Watson, co-discoverer of
the structure of DNA.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Baltimore's public policy concerns often ran counter to his o=
personal research interests and he sometimes waged his bureaucratic battles
in such a way that he ended up in charge of what he opposed.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0When, in 1974, for example, the public grew concerned about t=
potential danger of new gene-splicing techniques, he helped engineer a
moratorium on such research, including a ban on genetic engineering
experiments he himself was anxious to perform. Then he lobbied to have
those voluntary guidelines become federal regulations, heading off efforts
in Congress to enact even more restrictive legislation.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0And when, a few years later, he became convinced the dangers=
had been
overstated, he worked just as hard--and just as successfully--to have those
regulations repealed.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0In the early 1980s, he fought a crash project to map all huma=
genes--the $1-billion Human Genome project--even though it offered new
sources of federal funding that would have benefited his chosen field of
molecular biology. Worried that it threatened more traditional biological
research, he helped craft a key study by the National Academy of Sciences
on how the research should proceed. The Whitehead Institute eventually
became the flagship of the genome project, with the single largest federal
grant today for gene mapping.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0He became an early champion of federal AIDS research and=
chaired a
national commission in 1986 that concluded the federal government's
response to the AIDS epidemic was dangerously inadequate. The commission
called for a $2-billion research effort to avert a public health
"catastrophe." Today he is chairman of the NIH advisory committee that
effectively oversees the search for a vaccine against what many consider
the world's leading public health problem.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Throughout it all, he still found time to continue his own re=
into the nature of polio and other viruses. So far, Baltimore has published
536 peer-reviewed research papers.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0The controversy over one, however, which seemed to embody a p=
struggle for the public soul of science, almost destroyed his career.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0For much of the past decade, it has been impossible to=
discuss the
issue of integrity in science without considering the matter of David

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0In one of the country's most celebrated investigations of all=
misconduct in science, Baltimore was condemned and then dramatically
cleared, when the government's case abruptly collapsed last year.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0The controversy involved a research paper published in the=
April 25,
1986, issue of the research journal Cell on immunity cells in genetically
engineered laboratory mice. The researchers analyzed the way the altered
mice produced antibodies against invading microorganisms such as viruses,
and concluded that by inserting a foreign gene into the mice, they had
prodded the immune system into producing antibodies that mimicked those of
the new gene. If true, the finding offered the possibility that, through
genetic engineering, researchers could take command of the body's defenses
against disease.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Baltimore's own technical contribution was never in question.=
wrote Harvard biologist Paul Doty in an acerbic letter to the journal
Nature, another co-author's work was at best "so sloppy as to insult the
scientific method," and at worst raised troubling allegations of fraud.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Baltimore defended the honesty of his problematic co-author. =
it was never suggested that Baltimore himself had falsified data, he came
to symbolize for many the unwillingness of the powerful to admit error or
give proper weight to concerns raised by junior scientists, such as the
doctoral student who first questioned the research paper.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0No one ever duplicated the experiment, and a debate raged=
within the
scientific community on how best to handle doubts about the research. There
were internal reviews, apologies, corrections to published data and
retractions, but to critics they always seemed grudging or too limited.
They seemed to exemplify the unwillingness of science to police itself or
accept public oversight of the billions in tax dollars spent on research.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0The dispute culminated in contentious congressional hearings,=
by powerful Michigan Rep. John D. Dingell, about alleged fraud in federally
funded research projects. Four federal investigations and a grand jury
probe ensued.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0And when Baltimore's own integrity was directly challenged, t=
bearded biologist with the unwavering blue eyes responded with a complete
heedlessness to consequence.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"Dave is a very proud guy and he can be very obstinate as=
well," says
Stanford's Berg. The accusation "just inflamed Baltimore. He was not
contrite. He was like a red cape in front of a bull."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0The political coup de grace to Baltimore's reputation was adm=
through the leak in 1991 of a harshly critical draft federal report that
was made available to reporters--and sent to his most prominent academic
critics--before any of the accused had an opportunity to see it. Again, the
report did not suggest Baltimore himself had been party to fraud, but
castigated his behavior in defending his colleague as "deeply troubling."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"I knew the report was all wrong but I could not convince=
most other
people of that. They saw it as a condemnation," Baltimore says.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Under growing pressure, he resigned as president of Rockefell=
University and returned to MIT.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"It was the first rough spot in David's road," says one longt=
Cambridge colleague who asked not to be identified. "He did not have the
experience of being wrong about something. He is not someone who could
easily say he made a mistake. I think the experience acquainted him with
fallibility--perhaps for the first time. He had his comeuppance, you could

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Still, Baltimore's research never flagged.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0During the decade he wrestled with the Cell controversy and=
the power
struggles at Rockefeller, he published another 194 papers, including
several of the period's more interesting findings in molecular biology.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0But those who have known him the longest say the affair had a
lasting--and perhaps chastening--effect.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"For me, he became a more accessible human being," says White=
biologist Rudolf Jaenisch.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Then, in one of the remarkable reversals in American public=
life, an
NIH review panel handed down a 200-page decision last June that completely
repudiated the federal investigation as politically motivated and its
evidence as deeply flawed.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Indeed, the evidence of the appeals panel--6,500 pages=
covering six
weeks of testimony and a review of 70 original laboratory
notebooks--suggests that Baltimore appears to have been singled out for
censure because, like a Puritan elder unwilling to join a witch hunt, he
was guilty of insufficient zealotry. (The colleague he defended was able to
pick up the pieces of her research career.)=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Baltimore today acknowledges that his own actions may have,=
in part,
prolonged the controversy, but he believes much of the criticism was aimed
not at the experiment in question but at him personally: "I do not accept
insults lightly. John Dingell revels in insulting people. He wants them to
squirm and take it. And I would not.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"That has to do with my feeling about my own self, and I=
think there
is a real sense that, had I been willing to accept whatever he wanted to
dish out, I might have had less trouble. But I am willing to put up with

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"If, in being true to myself, I have to take a bath, I am=
willing to
take the dip. I think that, in the end, by standing up to Dingell and
helping the scientific community to see what he represented, I did
something that was important."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Baltimore's third-floor office in MIT's Building 68 is a=
warren of
unfiled papers. Pictures of his wife and daughter dot the walls. Awards
crowd the top of the corner file cabinet. A photograph of Steven Spielberg
and the filmmaker's mother--by Marianne Cook, the same person who took
Baltimore's official portrait--is propped against the desk lamp.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Baltimore accounts for Spielberg's picture by explaining that=
attended a benefit premiere of "Lost World" in Great Falls, Mont.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0With Weissman at Stanford and molecular biologist Leroy Hood=
at the
University of Washington, Baltimore owns a 160-acre fishing camp near
Hamilton, Mont., where he often vacations to fly-fish the Bitter Root.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0The social and psychological distance between prewar=
Manhattan and
modern Montana is one telling measure of how far Baltimore has come in his
life. He wheels his chair to the only clear space in his MIT office,
settles himself and considers his origins.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0David Baltimore was born four days after Hitler invaded=
Austria in New
York Hospital, only a few blocks from Rockefeller University, where, in
1964, he would receive his PhD and later briefly lead. He was the first of
two sons. His brother, Robert, is a pediatrician on the faculty of Yale.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Their father, Richard, was the only son of poor Orthodox Jewi=
parents and was orphaned at age 14, his older sisters going to work to
support him because "the one boy in the family had to at least graduate
from high school," Baltimore recalls. His father entered the garment
business, and by the time David was born, he owned a small company
manufacturing women's suits and overcoats.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"His best years were the Depression," Baltimore says. "He was=
a very
smart, intellectually very interested man, who with more opportunity might
have done something very different in his life. He never wanted me to
continue in his footsteps. Not for a second did he think I should be in
that business or, for that matter, any business."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0His mother Gertrude was a tailor's daughter who grew up in a =
secular Jewish household and became a tolerant nonbeliever who saw the high
holidays as important family events. She worked in the retail end of the
garment business.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0After Robert's birth, she went back to school, earning advanc=
degrees in psychology from, and then joining the faculty of, The New School
for Social Research. At age 62 she became a tenured professor at Sarah
Lawrence College.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"She got a master's and did everything she needed to do to=
get her PhD
except her thesis. For reasons that were never clear to me, she did not do
a thesis," Baltimore reflects. "I suspected, but never was sure, that she
held herself back because she had gone so much further than my father in
her intellectual life."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0When David was still in high school, his mother arranged for=
him to
take a summer course at the celebrated Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor.
There Baltimore met Swarthmore College senior Howard M. Temin, with whom he
would one day share the Nobel Prize. Amid the lab mice, cell cultures and
summer research projects, Baltimore had his defining encounter with the
spirit of science, which he would vigorously pursue as an undergraduate at

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"It was the process of research. I discovered that I could in=
the unknown as a high school student, that the frontier of knowledge was
actually very close and very accessible," he remembers. "That is something
we almost never realize as a high school student.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"You think of the frontier of knowledge as being someplace in=
a very
abstract place. This made it very concrete and very near."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0It says something about the mind of David Baltimore that, as=
the son
of a Gestalt psychologist, he settled on biology.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0For all its precision tools of molecular genetics and biochem=
biology remains an intuitive science that in some ways still resists the
objective weights and measures that rule physics and engineering. Biology
is full of oblique, indirect experiments--intellectual bank shots that
carom off the truth that nature has so artfully hidden in living things.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Whether it is Darwin divining the process of natural=
selection or the
team of Crick and Watson discerning the molecular structure of DNA, the
science of biology often progresses by inference and inspired guesswork,
illuminated by flashes of informative experiment.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0It is wet work, messy, an exercise in loose ends.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"When you are a scientist, and you are trying to prove or=
disprove a
notion, you work at the bench doing the dullest, most routine things over
and over and over again," Baltimore explains.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"You can't believe how tedious scientific research can be.=
Getting the
answers that are half answers and trying to massage the system so it will
behave better and dealing with the contaminations that come along and the
machines that don't work and the reagents that are mislabeled. . . . I
can't tell you how many ways things go wrong. All the time you are doing
this because there is an idea behind it."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0The same is true, he says, in building an institution, be it=
a large
research institute such as the Whitehead or major universities such as
Rockefeller or Caltech:=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"You can, as an administrator, have a vision. I had a sense=
of what I
wanted to do building the Whitehead Institute. I did not have a blueprint
all worked out, but I had a sense of what I wanted to do and where I wanted
to go, and I was able to realize that.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"In order to realize that, I had to be a politician. But all=
of that
was in the service of a larger vision, which I never lost sight of."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Baltimore expects Caltech to benefit from his own past=
mistakes as a
university president.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0When he became president of Rockefeller University in 1990,=
he arrived
on campus intent on shaking up a venerable institution that, by general
agreement, was financially troubled, top-heavy with senior scientists and
seriously adrift. He arrived with a considerable faction of the faculty set
against him.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0He lost no time in dealing with the fiscal crisis by imposing=
a salary
freeze. He moved quickly to break up academic gridlock. He started to phase
out the physical sciences, coaxed $20 million from a private benefactor and
brought in his own administrative cadre to carry out his reforms.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Every action stiffened faculty opposition to his tenure. The
controversy over the Cell paper only made matters worse. He retreated into
a "shell," according to one former trustee. And Baltimore today
acknowledges that he exacerbated matters by simply moving too quickly to
make major changes:=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"What I learned--and what I hope will hold me in good stead=
in going
to Caltech--is that you can only move so fast at a university, and I was
trying to move too fast. I was trying to do too much. I had an image of
what I wanted Rockefeller to be, and instead of helping that image to
develop in other people's minds and to help it along, I tried to force it
too much."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0For now, he plans to be open to the promise of Caltech. He=
hopes to be
adept and adaptable enough to steer himself and the university around
shoals of change. Baltimore has no sense of impending crisis, and he will
come with no entourage of hand-picked aides.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"I have the sense of an institution that is, in fact, moving =
very effectively, where there are opportunities to move in new directions,"
he says.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0There will be, however, at least one new hire on Baltimore's
administrative staff: His wife will likely take a role in external
development and government relations. Huang, a distinguished scientist in
her own right and a former medical school professor at Harvard, resigned as
dean of science at New York University to accompany Baltimore to Pasadena.=

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0He says they hope Caltech can take advantage of her talents w=
creating the tensions a husband-wife management team sometimes generates
among other employees. "We have to define that [working] relationship
carefully," he says. "We are both conscious of it."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0While Baltimore would like to see Caltech become more engaged=
policy issues and the surrounding Southern California community, he is wary
of changes that may tamper with what he sees as the school's unique
academic character.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"Caltech historically has been a pretty insular institution,"=
he says.
"I worry about messing with that very much because Caltech has been so
extraordinarily effective. I think its insularity may have been part of its

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"I don't want to see us lose that. We will move cautiously."=

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0One clue to the ambitions that animate Baltimore can be found=
in the
events of a turbulent week 27 years ago last April, when American troops
unexpectedly invaded Cambodia.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0It was a moment of spontaneous national combustion, when diff=
over the Vietnam War ignited on campuses nationwide. At MIT, where the
young biologist was already a tenured professor, antiwar protests were
especially passionate because the school and its graduates had engineered
so much of the war's high technology.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0So it may not have been surprising that Baltimore locked his
laboratory and, for a week, joined thousands of students and other teachers
crowding Massachusetts Avenue in protesting the government's Vietnam policy.=

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0What made his action noteworthy, however, was that he suspend=
research on the day he had completed a deceptively simple experiment in the
genetics of viruses, which--when confirmed--would revolutionize molecular
biology and win its discoverer the Nobel Prize.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Baltimore does not volunteer this story and, when reminded of=
incident recently, he discounts it: "[Protesting] was clearly of
transcendent importance, more important than a scientific experiment, which
could and did go on the following week. [The invasion] was probably the
greatest insult to right-thinking people that one could imagine."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0He did indeed return to the experiment a week later, speedily
confirmed it, and wrote up his findings. His finished research paper
arrived at Nature on June 2, only 13 days ahead of a manuscript detailing
the same discovery from Temin, his friend and research rival.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0In 1975, they shared the Nobel Prize for medicine for the=
work, along
with Salk Institute biologist Renato Dulbecco.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0The Nobel Prize itself, arriving at the threshold of middle=
age, left
him with a certain sense of isolation, even as it created opportunities, he

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"I don't see it as a burden, but you can't get away from it.=
I know
that when I talk to young scientists, they are looking at me and saying:
'God, I am talking to a Nobel Prize winner.' I try to break that down with
the people in my own laboratory and think I do. It gets harder every year."=

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Indeed, Baltimore prides himself on being especially=
responsive to
young scientists. At the Rockefeller, for example, he appointed or promoted
45 junior faculty members in his first year.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Robert A. Weinberg, a prominent cancer biologist at the=
Whitehead who
was awarded the National Medal of Science in May, says Baltimore "always
took pains that people in his shadow acquired their own identity. A junior
person can easily be perceived as an appendage."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Nonetheless, younger colleagues say, Baltimore also is=
unsparing in
his demands for excellence.=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Peter Kim, an expert on the protein structures of viruses who=
with Baltimore on the AIDS vaccine committee, was hired as a Whitehead
fellow in 1985. Kim says that Baltimore personally reviewed every grant
application before it was allowed to leave the building: "I remember
getting my first grant application back with red ink all over it."=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0And Richard Young, among the first young scientists Baltimore=
when he organized the Whitehead Institute, says his mentor was "utterly
unforgiving." Still, Baltimore "had a way of offering the most brutal
criticism to young faculty and then going out of his way to have you out
for a beer or over to his home, so you would know that it was not personal."=

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0Baltimore will continue that approach at Caltech, remaining c=
that new opportunities in science come from the thinking of young people:=20

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"It is difficult. You have to find people when they are less =
You have to help them through sometimes difficult times in molding their

=A0=A0=A0=A0=A0"But in the end, the rewards are greater."=20

Robert Lee Hotz Is a Times Science Writer

Rohit Khare /// ex-MCI Internet Architecture (BOS) ///
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