The National Medal of Science was established by the 86th Congress in 1959 as a Presidential Award to be given to individuals “deserving of special recognition by reason of their outstanding contributions to knowledge in the physical, biological, mathematical, or engineering sciences.” One of the recipients of the 2002 National Medal of Science, which was awarded on November 6, 2003, is Evelyn M. Witkin, the Barbara McClintock Professor Emerita of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Dr. Witkin was cited for her insightful and pioneering investigations on the genetics of DNA mutagenesis and DNA repair that have increased our understanding of processes as varied as evolution and the development of cancer.

During the beginning of her career, when she was in her first year as a graduate student in the Department of Zoology at Columbia University, Evelyn read Hermann J. Muller's 1922 paper on the...

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