JAY SCHULKIN, PAUL ROZIN AND ELIOT STELLAR
CURT RICHTER STANDS AS America's foremost psychobiologist in the twentieth century. He was the first empirical scientist in the field, and certainly made his mark in virtually every corner of it.
Richter's father, an engineer, and his mother had emigrated to America from Germany several years before Richter was born. They settled in Colorado where Richter was born in 1894. His father, who died when Curt was a young boy, owned a factory. Young Curt spent a fair amount of time in it learning how to tinker. His father wanted Curt to become an engineer, and this made a lasting impression.
The early life of Richter in Colorado was characterized first by a proclivity for fixing things, for tinkering and invention, and second, by an interest in sports. Both remained passions throughout his life. He was a zealous athlete. When he was young he excelled at baseball, skiing, and basketball. As an adult, and right into his eighties, he was an excellent tennis player, challenging people half his age. He was also known to vault over the high pike fence around the Phipps Clinic when the gates were locked, leaving younger colleagues to climb over slowly and carefully. This was when he was in his seventies. He was a physical man.
He was not a good student, however. He did comply,