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Leon Jacobson (1911-1992)

Leon Jacobson, MD

Leon Jacobson, MD, was a leader in the study and clinical use of radiation to treat blood diseases. During his career, he worked to develop the first forms of chemotherapy, and he was also the primary physician for the research team that created the atomic bomb.

Dr. Jacobson first began his career as a school teacher in a one-room school in Sims, North Dakota. As a teacher, he became interested in the various epidemics affecting his students and even worked with doctors in Bismarck, North Dakota, to help one of his students with epilepsy, thus beginning his interest in medicine. Dr. Jacobson received his medical degree from The University of Chicago in 1939.

In 1942, he was selected to join the staff of the Manhattan Project at The University of Chicago because of his research on the biological effects of radiation. Dr. Jacobson spent his entire professional career at The University of Chicago where he served as director of the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital and dean of biological sciences in the medical school.