Ukrainian-born biochemist who emigrated to the United States
Erwin Chargaff (August 11, 1905 – June 20, 2002) was an Austrian biochemist who emigrated to the United States during the Nazi era. Through careful experimentation, Chargaff discovered two rules that helped lead to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.
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- Outside his own ever-narrowing field of specialization, a scientist is a layman. What members of an academy of science have in common is a certain form of semiparasitic living.
- Perspectives in Biology and Medicine (1973)
- In 1945, therefore, I proved a sentimental fool; and Mr. Truman could safely have classified me among the whimpering idiots he did not wish admitted to the presidential office. For I felt that no man has the right to decree so much suffering, and that science, in providing and sharpening the knife and in upholding the ram, had incurred a guilt of which it will never get rid. It was at that time that the nexus between science and murder became clear to me. For several years after the somber event, between 1947 and 1952, I tried desperately to find a position in what then appeared to me as a bucolic Switzerland,—but I had no success.
- Erwin Chargaff, Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life before Nature (1978), 4.
- What I see coming is a gigantic slaughterhouse, a molecular Auschwitz, in which valuable enzymes, hormones, and so on will be extracted instead of gold teeth.
- The Genetic Revolution—Great Promise With Growing Concern, Awake! magazine, July 22, 1989.
- Now one could say, at the risk of some superficiality, that there exist principally two types of scientists. The ones, and they are rare, wish to understand the world, to know nature; the others, far more frequent, wish to explain it. The first are searching for truth, often with knowledge that they will not attain it; the second strive for plausibility, for the achievement of an intellectually consistent, and hence successful, view of the world.
- Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life Before Nature, Paul & Co Pub Consortium, June, 1978.
- We do not know what life is, and yet we manipulate it as if it were an inorganic salt solution... 
- Unangenehme Seher werden meistens als Narren abgeschrieben [Visionaries of uncomfortable truths are mostly dismissed as fools]