Seeing Value in Poisons, a Toxicologist Takes On a Late Laureate

Seeing Value in Poisons, a Toxicologist Takes On a Late Laureate 1

Herbert Gehr, Time Life Pictures, Getty Images

Hermann J. Muller won a Nobel Prize in 1946 for his work showing that mutations can be induced by X-rays.

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Herbert Gehr, Time Life Pictures, Getty Images

Hermann J. Muller won a Nobel Prize in 1946 for his work showing that mutations can be induced by X-rays.

One late fall day in 1946, long before global-warming fears and Tea Party anger, the Nobel laureate Hermann J. Muller stood before the world's scientists and confronted a thoroughly modern political and professional dilemma.

Mr. Muller, collecting his Nobel Prize for having found that mutations can be induced by X-rays, was also anticipating the coming nuclear arms race, and he greatly feared it. And yet he had recently been shown new data from a trusted colleague suggesting that low