Prof. Frank Fenner

Albert Einstein World Award of Science 2000
Field of Research: Biological Sciences
Date: 01 November 2000
Place of Ceremony: Great Hall
Host Institution: Witwatersrand University
Host Country: Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg, South Africa, November 2000. The World Cultural Council presented the 2000 Albert Einstein World Award of Science to Prof. Frank Fenner, Professor at the John Curtin School at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. The Award Ceremony took place in Johannesburg, South Africa with the host of the University of the Witwatersrand, on November the 1st 2000.

This recognition made by the members of the Interdisciplinary Committee of the World Cultural Council to Prof. Fenner is due to his valuable and pioneering contributions in the Biomedical Sciences field. It is a Prize granted to him for his productive trajectory related to the work done in the medical sciences and his labor in the smallpox eradication campaign.

In 1946 Prof. Fenner was appointed to the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute , where he worked on the experimental epidemiology and pathogenesis of infectious ectromelia of mice (disease for which he proposed the name mousepox), which proved to be an excellent model for smallpox.

Prof. Fenner’s continued recognition as the world expert on mousepox is attested by the fact when there was a serious outbreak of disease in laboratory mice in the United States in 1979.

In 1969 he became involved with the Intensified Smallpox Eradication Programme of the World Health Organization, as one of a group of virological experts advising the Smallpox Eradication Unit.

Prof. Fenner retired from his appointment in the Australian National University at the end of 1979, at age 65. He was appointed as a Visiting Fellow in the John Curtin School, and immediately initiated work on the major book requested by the World Health Organization to describe the smallpox eradication campaign. He wrote the chapter on mousepox in the standard text on diseases of laboratory mice, published in 1982 and was the first author of a chapter on mousepox (as “classical model”) in a major book on viral pathogenesis published in 1996.

Prof. Fenner was born in Ballarat, Victoria, Australia in 1914. He attended to the University of Adelaide in 1938, he received his B.S., and his M.D. in 1942. He received in 1966 M.D. honoris causa in Monash University and Doctor honoris causa in 1992 by the University of Liege, in 1995 by the Oxford Brookes University and by the Australian National University in 1996. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of London; fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians , London.

Since 1967 Prof. Fenner began working into a series of scientific books that has continued up to the present time. In 1988 Fenner’s contribution to the smallpox eradication campaign was recognized by the award, with D.A. Henderson and I. Arita, of the Japan Prize. In 1989 he received Australia’s highest award, Companion of the Order of Australia and in 1995 the most prestigious award of the Royal Society of London, the Copley Medal.

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