February 15, 1938–July 18, 1988


HUGH WALPOLE'S NOVEL FORTITUDE begins with the line, '''Tisn't life that matters! 'Tis the courage you bring to it." That may be true for most people, but it certainly isn't true for the tiny fraction of humanity who are highly creative; their lives matter even more than their courage because they change the world and the lives of others. Tom Kaiser was one of those creative people who changed the world—in his case, the world of science. But even if we were to measure him by Walpole's criterion, he would stand out; his courage was as great as his creativity.


Emil Thomas Kaiser—Tom to his friends—was born in Hungary in 1938. His parents, both of whom were Ph.D. chemists, brought him, when he was an infant, to Canada, where his father had taken a job as a pharmaceutical chemist. Then, when Tom was two, the family moved to the United States, where his father began a long career with the research department of Armour Pharmaceutical Company.

This biographical memoir was first published in the Journal of Bioorganic Chemistry 17(1989) and is here updated and reprinted with permission from Academic Press.

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