16. Ants are so much like human beings as to be an embarrassment.
      –Lewis Thomas


Photo provided by University archives

Photo by Dino Palomares

Lewis Thomas ’33, MD, won the 1974 National Book Award for The Lives of the Cell (quoted above), a compilation of essays originally appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine. His success as an author, philosopher and poet complimented his brilliant career as a medical scientist, physician, and teacher. Thomas was the president, CEO and chancellor of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, as well as a professor and dean at such medical schools as Harvard, Yale, Cornell, NYU and Johns Hopkins. He received many awards including Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson Award and the namesake Lewis Thomas Prize from Rockefeller University in 1990, which is annually granted to a researcher who best embodies the ideal of “the scientist as a poet.” On the Princeton campus, the Lewis Thomas Laboratory houses the Molecular Biology Department.