Wendell Meredith Stanley
Born(1904-08-16)August 16, 1904
DiedJune 15, 1971(1971-06-15) (aged 66)
Alma materEarlham College
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
AwardsNewcomb Cleveland Prize (1936)
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1946)
William H. Nichols Medal (1946)
Willard Gibbs Award (1947)
Franklin Medal (1948)
Order of the Rising Sun (1966)
Scientific career
InstitutionsRockefeller Institute
University of California, Berkeley

Wendell Meredith Stanley (16 August 1904 – 15 June 1971) was an American biochemist, virologist and Nobel laureate.[1]


Stanley was born in Ridgeville, Indiana, and earned a BSc in chemistry at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. He then studied at the University of Illinois, gaining an MS in science in 1927 followed by a PhD in chemistry two years later. His later accomplishments include writing the book "Chemistry: A Beautiful Thing" and being a Pulitzer Prize nominee.


As a member of National Research Council he moved temporarily for academic work with Heinrich Wieland in Munich before he returned to the States in 1931. On return he was approved as an assistant at The Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. He remained with the Institute until 1948, becoming an Associate Member in 1937, and a Member in 1940.[2] In 1948, he became Professor of Biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley and built the Virus Laboratory and a free-standing Department of Biochemistry building, which is now called Stanley Hall.

Stanley's work contributed to on lepracidal compounds, diphenyl stereochemistry and the chemistry of the sterols. His research on the virus causing the mosaic disease in tobacco plants led to the isolation of a nucleoprotein which displayed tobacco mosaic virus activity.

Stanley was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 1940 and the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1941.[3][4] He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 1946. In 1949, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[5] His other notable awards included the Rosenburger Medal, Alder Prize, Scott Award, the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement[6] and the AMA Scientific Achievement Award. He was also awarded honorary degrees by many universities both American and foreign, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the University of Paris. Most of the conclusions Stanley had presented in his Nobel-winning research were soon shown to be incorrect (in particular, that the crystals of mosaic virus he had isolated were pure protein, and assembled by autocatalysis).[7][8]

Personal life

Stanley married Marian Staples (1905–1984) in 1929 and had three daughters (Marjorie, Dorothy and Janet) and a son (Wendell Meredith Junior). Stanley Hall at UC Berkeley (now Stanley Biosciences and Bioengineering Facility) and Stanley Hall at Earlham College are named in his honor. His daughter, Marjorie, married Dr. Robert Albo, physician to the Golden State Warriors basketball team as well as the Oakland Raiders football team. he died in Spain on June 15 1971.


  1. ^ Colvig, R (February 1972). "Wendell M, STANLEY, PhD, (1905-1971)". Cancer. 29 (2): 541–2. doi:10.1002/1097-0142(197202)29:2<541::AID-CNCR2820290246>3.0.CO;2-T. PMID 4552137.
  2. ^ The Franklin Institute. "Wendell Meredith Stanley". Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  3. ^ "APS Member History". search.amphilsoc.org. Retrieved 2023-05-03.
  4. ^ "Wendell M. Stanley". www.nasonline.org. Retrieved 2023-05-03.
  5. ^ "Wendell Meredith Stanley". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2023-05-03.
  6. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
  7. ^ Pennazio, S; Roggero P (2000). "The discovery of the chemical nature of tobacco mosaic virus". Riv. Biol. 93 (2): 253–81. PMID 11048483.
  8. ^ Kay, L E (September 1986). "W. M. Stanley's crystallization of the tobacco mosaic virus, 1930-1940". Isis; an International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences. 77 (288): 450–72. doi:10.1086/354205. PMID 3533840. S2CID 37003363.