Nobel winner, NASA astrobiologist Blumberg dies

Apr 06, 2011

Baruch Blumberg, who won the Nobel Prize for helping identify the Hepatitis B virus and who served as the first chief of NASA's Astrobiology Institute, has died at the age of 85, NASA said Wednesday.

Blumberg died of an apparent heart attack while attending a NASA conference in California on Tuesday, the US space agency said in a statement.

"Barry Blumberg was a great biochemist and researcher," said Ames Center Director Pete Worden.

"He was a leading light in the scientific community and a great humanitarian. He also was a loyal and supportive friend to NASA, Ames Research Center and the nation's space program."

Blumberg headed the NASA Astrobiology Institute from 1999 to 2002, and won the 1976 Nobel Prize in Medicine for identifying the Hepatitis B virus.

He shared the prize that year with D. Carleton Gajdusek, who was known for his work on infectious viral diseases. Gajdusek, who pled guilty to one charge of molesting a young boy and served jail time for pedophilia, died in 2008.

Blumberg was described as a "great man" by former NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin.

"Barry saved lives through his research on the virus. He also inspired a whole generation of people worldwide through his work in building the NASA Astrobiology Institute," he said.

"Our planet is an improved place as a result of Barry's few short days in residence."

Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe and the search for life forms beyond what is known on Earth.

Explore further: Student to live in simulated space habitat

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA Selects Science Teams for Astrobiology Institute

Oct 03, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA has awarded five-year grants, averaging $7 million each, to 10 research teams from across the country, including two from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, to study the origins, ...

NASA and Google to Bring Space Exploration Down to Earth

Dec 18, 2006

NASA Ames Research Center and Google have signed a Space Act Agreement that formally establishes a relationship to work together on a variety of challenging technical problems ranging from large-scale data management and ...

NASA honors former astronaut John Young

Jul 21, 2005

Space pioneer John Young has been named a NASA Ambassador of Exploration. The award, along with a commemorative moon rock, were presented Wednesday during a ceremony at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

EU gives green light for while-you-wait hepatitis B test

May 18, 2010

An inexpensive new test for the detection of Hepatitis B virus has been given regulatory approval for use in the European Union. The test, developed with support from the Wellcome Trust, delivers accurate results while-you-wait, ...

Recommended for you

Video: Alleged meteor caught on Russian dash cam (again)

2 hours ago

Thanks to the ubiquity of dashboard-mounted video cameras in Russia yet another bright object has been spotted lighting up the sky over Siberia, this time a "meteor-like object" seen on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 27.

Student to live in simulated space habitat

6 hours ago

A Purdue University industrial engineering doctoral student is among six "crew members" spending the next eight months in a domed habitat on a volcanic landscape mimicking life on a Martian outpost.

The wake-up call that sent hearts racing

9 hours ago

"But as the minutes ticked by, the relaxed attitude of many of us began to dissolve into apprehension. Our levels of adrenaline and worry began to rise."

US-India to collaborate on Mars exploration

18 hours ago

The United States and India, fresh from sending their own respective spacecraft into Mars' orbit earlier this month, on Tuesday agreed to cooperate on future exploration of the Red Planet.

User comments : 0