Index of Memorial Resolutions and Biographical Sketches
HERMANN JOSEPH MULLER
Hermann Joseph Muller, retired professor of biology and Nobel Laureate, died on April 5, 1967. He was 76.
Professor Muller was born on December 21, 1890, in New York City. He received bachelor's and PhD degrees from Columbia University in 1910 and 1916, respectively. At Columbia he began his studies of Drosophila, the sole organism with which he carried out experiments throughout his career.
Dr. Muller taught at Rice University from 1915 to 1918 and at Columbia University from 1918 to 1920. He joined the faculty of The University of Texas at Austin in 1920, where he taught for 12 years.
Professor Muller was then associated with the K. W. Institute for Hirnfroschung in Berlin, the Institute of Genetics in Moscow, and later with the Institute of Animal Genetics in Edinburgh. He returned to the United States in 1940 to teach at Amherst College. He taught at Indiana University from 1945 until his retirement.
Professor Muller was an authority in gene mutation. In 1927 he astonished scientists by demonstrating that X-rays can cause genes to mutate. His discovery led to an important new field of investigation regarding the biochemical nature of gene action. Professor Muller was recognized in 1927 with an American Academy of Science award for his discovery. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1946 for his pioneering genetics work.
Professor Muller was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He served as president of the American Society of Naturalists, the Genetics Society of America, the Eighth International Congress of Genetics, and the American Society of Human Genetics.
In 1967 a tribute to Professor Muller was published in the Journal of Heredity, a publication of the American Genetic Association.
John R. Durbin, Secretary
The General Faculty
Biographical sketch prepared by Teresa Palomo Acosta and posted on the Faculty Council web site on January 18, 2001. Additional biographical sources can be found in the Barker Texas History Center and the UT Office of Public Affairs.