Frank Macfarlane Burnet

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Burnet, 1945

Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet (September 3, 1899 – August 31, 1985) was an Australian virologist best known for his contributions to immunology. He was co-winner of the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir Peter Medawar.


  • I can see no hope at present of such a vaccine being produced... I have adopted a frankly defeatist attitude towards the problem of poliomyelitis and I hope that future developments will prove me wrong... No means of controlling poliomyelitis is at present visible.
    • Burnet, F.M. (1949) "Some aspects of the epidemiology of poliomyelitis". in: Proc. Royal Australasian College of Physicians. 4: 95-100.
    • Quote from 1949 on the development of a poliomyelitis vaccine, which was developed later that year.
  • I can see no practical application of molecular biology to human affairs... DNA is a tangled mass of linear molecules in which the informational content is quite inaccessible.
    • Burnet, F.M. (1970) Immunological Surveillance. Pergamon Press. pp. 240-241.

About Burnet[edit]

  • One of the minor regrets, not really a big regret, is that I’ve never published a paper with Mac Burnet. I’ve published 500 papers, not a single one has Burnet as a co-author. He did not believe in putting his name on a paper if he hadn’t done at least one third of the work himself. A sort of an honest unselfish approach, when it comes time to reap the glory you do it without having someone grabbing it instead of you.

External links[edit]

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