June 25, 1917–April 15, 1986
BY W. D. MCELROY
NATHAN ORAM KAPLAN was born in New York City on June 25, 1917. When he was two years old his family moved to Los Angeles where, after attending primary and secondary schools, he entered UCLA to major in chemistry. After graduating from UCLA he went to Berkeley for graduate studies. Until this time, Nate's main interests were in baseball and track. He ran the quarter mile and was a member of the track team at UCLA. However, he was also interested in the history of science writing, for which he received an award from the city of Los Angeles.
At Berkeley, Nate's latent talents in research were uncovered and he virtually exploded into recognition. Working in Professor David M. Greenberg's laboratory, he used radioactive phosphate, produced by Martin D. Kamen (a lifetime friend and colleague) with the cyclotron at the Radiation Laboratory, to study phosphate metabolism in rat liver. As he developed experience with radioactive phosphate, he established a collaboration with M. Doudoroff and W. Z. Hassid, two young bacteriologists who were studying phosphate-dependent sucrose degradation by an enzyme from Pseudomonas sacchraphila. With Nate's help, they established that the enzyme transferred the glucosyl moiety