The son of Jewish immigrants, Arthur Kornberg grew up in New York and attended Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, graduating three years ahead of schedule. His favorite course was chemistry. He went to the City College of New York and then, in 1937, to medical school at the University of Rochester. Biochemistry is the main chemistry course during medical school. In Kornberg's day it was a dull course describing the chemical contents of body fluids.
Kornberg's main interest was in internal medicine, but that interest soon led him to research. He had always had a mild jaundice, or yellowing of the white parts of his eyes caused by an excess of the chemical bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is formed as old red blood cells break down to be replaced, and normally it is removed rapidly by the liver. He found other medical students with similar jaundice and...
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