ALFRED P. WOLF

February 23, 1923–December 17, 1998

BY JOANNA S. FOWLER AND MICHAEL J. WELCH

ALFRED P. WOLF WAS born in Manhattan on February 13, 1923. Al was the son of Margarete and Josef Wolf, who had emigrated from Germany before World War I. Josef Wolf had been a pastry chef on a German cruise ship, and when World War I broke out his ship could not go back to Germany. So he and Margarete, who was a dressmaker, settled in Manhattan raising Al and his older brother John. Al grew up to be the quintessential New Yorker, drinking in the culture and becoming a connoisseur of food and wine, and the arts. His first love was music; in fact, his chosen profession was to be a concert pianist, but as he would later comment, “I would go to Carnegie Hall and hear Artur Schnabel play the piano, and I quickly realized that I could never be any good. ”

What Al did possess was a keen aptitude for science, particularly chemistry. During his long career, he pioneered the development of labeling techniques that used the reactions of hot atoms (i.e., atoms with very high translational energies produced by recoil from nuclear reactions). He used this as a springboard to develop labeling methods to produce organic radiotracers that enriched the field of nuclear medicine and allowed the field of human neuro-



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