Maurice, We Hardly Knew Ye

My father brought a photocopy to dinner. He glanced at it, then said “Who was Maurice Hilleman?” I didn’t know, nor did my mother. “It’s a shame,” he said. “When you think of all the famous names you know, and the silly reasons they’re famous.” Then he showed the photocopy. It was Time‘s “Milestones” page, and read:

DIED. MAURICE HILLEMAN, 85, low-profile microbiologist credited with developing some 40 vaccines–a record–and saving more lives than any other 20th century scientist; in Philadelphia. Persuaded to go to college by his brother, who thought he should aim higher than his job as a clerk at a local J.C. Penney, the Montana farm boy eventually took what turned out to be a three-decade-long job at pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. He developed eight of the 14 vaccines currently recommend to protect children against measles, mumps, hepatitis A and B, and chickenpox.

Isn’t it time to celebrate smart people again?

3 Responses to “Maurice, We Hardly Knew Ye”

  1. Simon Says:

    Sadly there is far more fame and glory in killing than there ever will be in saving lives. Revelling in blood and destruction interests us far more than intelligence and morality ever could hope to.

  2. awarren Says:

    Omarosa. William Hung. Paul Rubens. Milli Vanilli. Monica Lewinsky. Anna-Nicole Smith. David Hasselhoff. Jerry Falwell. Our society is Lame de Leon.

  3. The Much Happier Now Mr. Pech Says:

    I wonder if perhaps it’s indicative of Hillemans personality, maybe he didn’t want to be famous, maybe he actively and successfully shunned fame. Of course that just makes me want to celebrate and make him famous that much more.

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