Community: Prize named for poet's grandfather

Burbank resident and poet David Meyerhof received notice more than a year ago from the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology that an award had been established in honor of his grandfather, the late Otto Meyerhof, and the honor was given to its first recipient recently.

Otto David Meyerhof won the 1922 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine at the age of 38.

“One of the youngest to receive a Nobel Prize,” David Meyerhof said.

Four of his students went on to win Nobel Prizes and another discovered a vital molecule — ATP. Otto Meyerhof also wrote or co-wrote more than 400 papers in his lifetime.

“Otto never stopped working, despite the tremendous hardships that he and his family endured while escaping from the Nazis during World War II and surviving the Holocaust,” David Meyerhof said.

Otto Meyerhof was the first Jewish scientist to reestablish contact with German scientists after World War II and the first to have a building named after him — the Otto Meyerhof Centre for Outpatient Care and Clinical Research in Heidelberg.

The first Otto Meyerhof Prize for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology was awarded to Dr. Martin van der Laan, a young scientist from the University of Freiburg in Germany. The presentation was made earlier this month during a ceremony held in Frankfurt, Germany.

David Meyerhof is a retired middle school teacher who taught math and science to sixth-graders and wrote a book of poetry called “Look Beyond,” which features 60 poems of inspiration and affirmation based primarily on his parents.


JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at

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