Rene Jules Dubos

Franklin Library Rene Jules Dubos books

So Human Animal - Pulitzer Prize Classics - 1985

Rene Jules Dubos biography

René Jules Dubos was a renowned French-American microbiologist, experimental pathologist, environmentalist, and humanist, born on February 20, 1901, in Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt, France. He made significant contributions to the fields of microbiology and medicine, and his work extended into broader themes of ecology, environmentalism, and the interconnectedness of human health and the environment. Dubos completed his undergraduate education at the University of Paris, where he initially studied literature before shifting his focus to the natural sciences. In 1925, he earned his Ph.D. in microbiology. Following his studies in France, Dubos immigrated to the United States in 1927. In the United States, Dubos began his career at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now Rockefeller University) in New York City. His early research focused on tuberculosis, and he made groundbreaking contributions to understanding the complexity of the disease. In 1937, he isolated the antibiotic gramicidin, which was effective against various bacteria and laid the groundwork for later antibiotic research.

Dubos's work expanded beyond traditional microbiology to encompass broader issues of human health and the environment. He explored the interplay between microbes and their environments and emphasized the importance of a holistic approach to understanding disease. His research and writings reflected a keen awareness of the intricate relationship between human health, environmental factors, and the microbial world. In 1952, René Dubos published Mirage of Health, a book that challenged the prevailing view that defeating infectious diseases alone would ensure human well-being. He argued for a more comprehensive understanding of health that included social, psychological, and environmental factors. This work marked his transition from a focus on laboratory microbiology to broader considerations of public health and ecology.

Dubos continued his interdisciplinary work and became a prominent figure in the emerging environmental movement. He received the Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his book So Human An Animal, which further explored the intricate balance between nature and human well-being. His writings emphasized the need for a sustainable relationship with the environment and a recognition of the impact of human activities on the planet. René Jules Dubos passed away on February 20, 1982, leaving behind a legacy that transcended the boundaries of traditional scientific disciplines. His contributions to microbiology, medicine, and environmentalism underscored the interconnectedness of the natural world and human health. Dubos's emphasis on the importance of a balanced and sustainable relationship with the environment continues to influence discussions on public health and ecological well-being.

So Human an Animal - How We are Shaped by Surroundings and Events

Is the human species becoming dehumanized by the condition of our environment? So Human an Animal is an attempt to address this broad concern & explain why so little is being done to address this issue. The book sounds both an urgent warning & offers important policy insights into how this trend towards dehumanization can be halted & finally reversed. Dubos asserts that we are as much the product of our total environment as of our genetic endowment. In fact, the environment we live in can greatly enhance, or severely limit, the development of human potential. Yet we're deplorably ignorant of the effects of our surroundings on human life. We create conditions which can only thwart human nature. So Human an Animal is a book with hope no less than alarm. Science can change our suicidal course by learning to deal analytically with the living experience of humans, by supplementing the knowledge of things & of the body machine with a science of human life. Only then can we give larger scope to human freedom by providing a rational basis for option & action.

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