Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

In Memoriam: Marc Lappe

Academic journal article The Hastings Center Report

In Memoriam: Marc Lappe

Article excerpt

Marc Lappe, a former associate on the staff of the Center, died of a brain tumor in May. I hired him in 1971 as our second associate (Robert M. Veatch was the first). In those days, the staff of the Center was only six people, but we were full of enthusiasm and Marc was a remarkably lively addition to our small group. He came to us with a degree in experimental pathology from the University of Pennsylvania and quickly provided leadership for our work on genetics.

One of Marc's most memorable contributions, in 1974, was to alert us to a new area of scientific research, recombinant-DNA, which he saw well before anyone else would be both important and controversial. We submitted a proposal to the NIH for a project on the ethics of rDNA research. Not only was the proposal rejected but, to rub it in, a letter from the director of the institute to which it had been submitted said that the idea of ethical problems in this research was nothing but "blue sky philosophizing. …

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