Lewis, Thomas

Lewis Thomas

Cornell University Medical College

Scientist, administrator, catalyst and teacher, the poet laureate of 20th century medicine. 

The widely acclaimed writings of Dr. Thomas have heightened and transformed the public's perception of biomedical science. Through his books, essays, and articles, non-scientists have learned to appreciate medical science not only as a service to individual and public health but as part of a great adventure of discovery of the human mind.

An active participant in the evolution of modern medicine, Dr. Thomas is uniquely qualified to chronicle its growth and development. While constantly working at his own laboratory studies he has, at the same time, served as department chairman, chief of medicine, dean, and chancellor at five major institutions. He has been a pioneer in introducing stimulating new initiatives in medical education, and in opening new areas for research in immunology, neuroscience, and public health problems.

In the finest sense, Dr. Thomas, by sharing his own enthusiasm and delight in science, has enlarged the vision of his readers. He has displayed the sweeping landscape of biology, calling attention to its small and curious details as well as its majestic pathways.

His writings have gathered new audiences for the dances of the molecules. With unfailing reverence for the complexities of biology and the pitfalls of experimentation, he has stimulated the public's imagination to the horizons of scientific inquiry. In an age where biomedical progress depends on the public's enthusiasm, as well as its understanding, Dr. Thomas's writings have converted countless non-scientists into appreciative spectators and supporters of biomedical research.

To Dr. Thomas, scientist, administrator, catalyst and teacher, The Poet Laureate of 20th Century Medical Science, this 1989 Albert Lasker Public Service Award is given.