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STEPHEN ROTHMAN, PIONEER OF INVESTIGATIVE DERMATOLOGY FRANK G. ROTHMAN* and ALLAN L. LORINCZf One hundred years have passed since the birth of Stephen Rothman in Budapest on September 10, 1894, and 31 years since he died ih Chicago on August 31, 1963. Many consider him to have been the unchallenged master of investigative dermatology of his generation. His former colleagues, students, and friends share many memories of him, as an exceptionally talented physician and scientist, as an excellent musician , as a teacher par excellence, and as an urbane and entertaining companion . At the memorial service held for Rothman at the University of Chicago on December 5, 1963, his faculty colleague Allan T. Kenyon noted that the faculty thought of his "gifts to the day-by-day. Because routine was always enlivened, because wit was always illumined, because laughter served to blow away the absurd which entangles us, because scholarship was light footed and teaching an adventure all its own. Because conversation was indeed the sport of cultivated minds" [I]. The authors of the present article knew Rothman in different capacities , one as a father and in later years a fellow scientist, and the other as a mentor and senior colleague. The authors have known each other for 50 years, starting at departmental family picnics, and including a two-year period of working together at the dermatology department of Walter Reed Army Hospital during their respective tours of military service. Stephen Rothman's memory is perpetuated annually among dermatologists by the Stephen Rothman Memorial Award of the Society of Investigative Dermatology, established after his death, and by the Stephen Rothman Club, the young scientists' group in investigative dermatology which was renamed in his honor in 1960. The Stephen Rothman Club meets annually to socialize, informally discuss the members' activi- *Division of Biology and Medicine, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912. tSection of Dermatology, University of Chicago.© 1995 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. 0031-5982/95/3901-0932$01.00 Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 39, 1 ¦ Autumn 1995 93 ties in dermatologie science, and encourage invited talented senior dermatology resident trainees with potential for academic careers to commit themselves to such. Of many honors received in his lifetime, this honor was perhaps closest to Rothman's heart, for he spent much of his later life encouraging talented young dermatologists into investigative careers. One of us (F.G.R.) was invited to reminisce about Stephen Rothman at the club's annual meeting in 1980, and this article is partly based on the remarks delivered on that occasion. The other (A.L.L.) was called on to publish definitive articles on Stephen Rothman's life and work, both in a festschrift issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in 1958, which included a complete bibliography of his work to that date [2], and in numerous obituaries [3]. In this article we pool our recollections to combine personal and professional perspectives. Stephen Rothman grew up in an atmosphere of culture and wealth. His father, Armin Rothman, was a highly respected dentist, who in addition to his private practice was Professor of Dental Surgery at the University of Budapest. Two incidents, late in Stephen Rothman's life, when his academic career had clearly surpassed his father's, illustrate the fondness of the son's memories. In the late 1940s, Rothman was invited to address a group of dentists about carcinoma of the mouth. On his return home, he reported with pleasure and awe, "I was introduced as the son of my father." And on a visit to Walter Reed in 1955, 94 Frank G. Rothman and Allan L. Lorincz ¦ Stephen Rothman shortly afer the publication of his monumental book, Physiology and Biochemistry of the Skin [4], Rothman decided to look in the library to see whether it had already been purchased and catalogued. It had not, but while looking in the card catalogue, he was delighted to find a copy of his father's monograph on dental pathophysiology [5]. Rothman was devoted to his mother, Olga Heller Rothman, to whom he bore a strong physical resemblance. She remained in Budapest during World War II, survived the Nazi takeover of 1944, and moved...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 93-109
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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