Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Robert Furchgott

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Title:
Jewish Heritage Collection: Oral history interview with Robert Furchgott
Interviewer:
Rosengarten, Dale, 1948-
Interviewee:
Furchgott, Robert, 1916-2009
Date:
2001-04-18
Description:
In a follow-up to his first interview on February 28, 2001 (Mss. 1035-252), Robert Furchgott resumes discussion of his family's moves from the time they left North Carolina for Florence, South Carolina, where Robert's father, Arthur, ran a women's clothing store, until the late 1930s, when the Furchgotts moved back to Charleston. Robert recalls his experiences at Orangeburg High School, University of South Carolina, and University of North Carolina (UNC). Pursuing a passion he had had since he was a child, he earned a degree in chemistry from UNC in 1937 and, three years later, a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Northwestern University in Chicago. He attended the Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology as a graduate student and notes a number of important connections he made there in the field of biochemistry. In 1940 Robert launched his career as a research scientist in the laboratory at Cornell University Medical College in New York, moving on to the pharmacology department at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis nine years later. He provides a summary of the research for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1998. It began at Cornell while studying circulatory shock, and progressed, ultimately, to identifying nitric oxide as the endothelium-derived relaxing factor in blood vessels. He describes how accidental findings played a role in his discoveries. While efforts to develop a drug for angina based on Robert's research failed, the medication sildenafil citrate was found to be useful in treating erectile dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension. Robert describes his visit, accompanied by family and friends, to Sweden to receive the Nobel Prize. Robert married Lenore Mandelbaum of New York in 1941, and they raised three daughters. After Lenore's death in 1983, Robert married family friend Maggie Roth. For related information, see also Marcelle Furchgott's May 14, 2014 interview, Max Furchgott's July 14, 1995 interview, the Arthur C. Furchgott papers (Mss 1043), and Furchgott and Brothers department store newspaper advertisement, 1910 (Mss 1034-090), Special Collections, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston.
Collection:
Jewish Heritage Collection Oral Histories
Contributing Institution:
College of Charleston Libraries
Media Type:
Oral Histories
Topical Subject:
Jews--South Carolina--Charleston--Interviews, Jewish merchants-- South Carolina--Florence--History, Nobel Prize winners--United States
Language:
English
Shelving Locator:
MSS 1035-256
S.C. County:
Charleston County (S.C.), Florence County (S.C.)
Internet Media Type:
audio/mpeg, application/pdf, application/pdf
Digitization Specifications:
Mp3 derivative audio created with Audacity software. Archival masters are wav files.
Preferred Citation:
Robert Furchgott, audio interview by Dale Rosengarten, 18 April 2001, Mss 1035-256, Special Collections, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, USA.
Copyright Status Statement:
© College of Charleston Libraries
Access Information:
For more information contact Special Collections, Addlestone Library, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424.