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THOMAS LEWIS :
Lewis Thomas (1913-1993), American physician, author, educator, and administrator. Thomas's most memorable achievements may be his popular essays about biology and medicine. Initially published in the New England Journal of Medicine, these essays were later compiled into the best-selling books The Lives of a Cell (1974) and The Medusa and the Snail (1979), both of which won National Book Awards. Later collections of essays included the largely autobiographical The Youngest Science (1983); Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony (1983); Et Cetera, Et Cetera (1990), a foray into etymology (the study of word origins and development); and The Fragile Species (1992), his last work. Thomas's ability to describe complex scientific principles in a colorful, engaging manner and his talent for evoking the humanity of scientific endeavor are some of the reasons his essays have been so popular.

Thomas was born on November 25, 1913, in Flushing, New York, and entered Princeton University at the age of 15. In 1933 he was admitted to Harvard Medical School. He served his internship from 1937 to 1939 at Boston City Hospital, then became a resident in neurology at the Neurological Institute of New York from 1939 to 1941. Thomas received a commission in the United States Naval Reserve during World War II and held research posts at the Rockefeller Institute and on Guam and Okinawa, where he studied viral encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).After the war he embarked on a medical teaching career and quickly rose through the academic ranks at Johns Hopkins University (1946-1948), Tulane University (1948-1950), and the University of Minnesota (1950-1954). Thomas moved to New York University in 1954 as a full professor; he later became dean of the school of medicine.
After the war he embarked on a medical teaching career and quickly rose through the academic ranks at Johns Hopkins University (1946-1948), Tulane University (1948-1950), and the University of Minnesota (1950-1954). Thomas moved to New York University in 1954 as a full professor; he later became dean of the school of medicine. In 1969 he accepted a position as professor at Yale University—the school of medicine made him dean during his five-year tenure there. From 1973 to 1983 Thomas served as president, chief executive officer, and finally chancellor of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He died in New York City on December 3, 1993, of Waldenstrom's disease. The New York Times reported that he had only a few regrets: “I wish I could play the piano, and I still wish I had been able to speak and comprehend impeccable French.”

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