Paul de Kruif
Paul de Kruif is credited with being one of the first popular science writers for the general public. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1916 and worked at the Rockefeller Institute under Simon Flexner. After being fired in 1922 for publishing a scathing article on medical research, de Kruif caught the attention of Sinclair Lewis, who used his scientific background to write his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Arrowsmith. In 1926, de Kruif published Microbe Hunters which recounted the exploits and discoveries of 14 renowned microbiologists from von Leeuwenhoek to Pasteur, Ross, Paul Ehrlich and Walter Reed. Microbe Hunters became a best seller, was translated into 18 languages, and formed the basis of two Hollywood movies, "Yellow Jack" and "The Magic Bullet." Generations of young readers were captivated by the vivid protrayal of these men and their discoveries.
Recommended CitationCitation Information:Greenberg, Stephen, "Microbe Hunters Revisited – Paul de Kruif and the Beginning of Popular Science Writing" (2012).
DigitalCommons@TMC, John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center, Houston History of Medicine Lectures. Paper 7.