In Memoriam: Daniel E. Koshland Jr. (1920-2007)

Media Contact: Museum Communications Officer, Koshland Science Museum
Phone: 202-334-1201, Email: Museum Communications Officer

Washington, DC - Daniel E. Koshland Jr., eminent scientist and founder of the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences, died in California on July 23. Koshland was a professor of biochemistry at the University of California at Berkeley and long-time member of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Professor Dan Koshland was an outstanding scientist, and he was also keenly aware of his obligation to serve the public," said Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. "He brought invaluable leadership skills and scientific expertise to the National Academy of Sciences and will be greatly missed.”

“Dr. Koshland was a brilliant researcher who also understood the value of making science accessible for everybody," said Patrice Legro, director of the Koshland Museum. "He saw this museum as a venue to illustrate how science impacts our daily lives and to give people an understanding of the scientific issues behind public policy decisions.”

Over his lifetime, Koshland made ground-breaking contributions to science, including advancing the understanding of enzymes and protein chemistry. Koshland proposed that enzymes changed shape as they reacted to other molecules. His "induced fit theory" had extensive ramifications not only to the study of enzymes, but also of entire biological systems. In the 1980s, Koshland and his colleagues discovered essential features of signaling systems among cells. He also did important research on Alzheimer's disease, studying chemical changes in brain cells.

Koshland was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1966. Over the years, he served on numerous committees, including two terms on the NAS Council, and also served as chair of the editorial board of the Academy's journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Koshland endowed the National Academy of Sciences with the gift that made the Marian Koshland Science Museum possible. The museum, which opened in 2004, is named in honor of his late wife Marian Koshland, an accomplished immunologist -- also a member of the National Academy of Sciences -- who shared his passion for making the excitement of scientific discovery available to the general public. The museum features hands-on exhibits about the science behind today's top issues and interesting public programs with leading researchers and authors.Koshland's many professional achievements included serving as editor of the journal Science from 1985 to 1995. In the 1980s, he also led a major reorganization of Berkeley's biological science programs, enabling scientists to cross disciplinary boundaries and collaborate more freely. He was the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Medal of Science, the Edgar Fahs Smith, Pauling, and Welch Awards of the American Chemical Society, the Waterford Prize, and the Albert Lasker Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science.


The Marian Koshland Science Museum explores the complexities of science and brings current scientific issues to life for the general public through interactive, dynamic exhibits based on reports by the National Academies. Located at 6th and E streets, N.W., the museum is easily accessible by metro at the Gallery Place/Chinatown and Judiciary Square stops. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except Tuesdays. For more information, visit the website.

The National Academy of Sciences, an honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, is dedicated to furthering science and technology for the general welfare. Since 1863, the nation's leaders have turned to the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council for advice on scientific and technical issues that frequently pervade policy decisions. For more information, visit