Hamilton Smith

Hamilton Smith


Hamilton Smith is an American microbiologist and Nobel laureate born on August 23, 1931, In New York

Family Background:

He is born to Bunnie Othanel Smith and Tommie Naomi Harkey. His father was an Assistant Professor of Education at the ‘University of Florida’ while his mother was a school teacher. He has elder brother Norman.

Personal Life:

In 1956, He married Elizabeth Anne Bolton, a nursing student in Mexico City. The couple has four sons and one daughter.


He had attended the ‘University Laboratory High School’ of Urbana, Illinois. Later He joined the ‘University of California’ in 1950 and completed his graduation at University of California, Berkeley with the bachelor’s degree in mathematics. In 1956, He had gained his M.D. from the ‘John Hopkins University’ and had also continued to the ‘Barnes Hospital’ in St. Louis for his medical internship.


In July 1957, Hamilton Smith had joined the Navy when He had been inducted into the Armed Forces and completed a two-year stint in San Diego, California. where He grew an interest in genetics during this time. In 1962, He started to work on ‘Salmonella Phage P22 lysogeny’ with another geneticist, Mike. In 1965, They had found the gene which controlled the prophage attachment and by 1967 Smith had been able to publish his findings. In 1967, He returned to ‘John Hopkins’ where He had joined the ‘Department of Microbiology’ as an Assistant Professor of Microbiology and has been there ever since. In 1968, He discovered the first type || ‘restriction enzyme’ which could be break up the DNA molecule at a particular point. In 1973, He had become a full professor of microbiology in the microbiology department. In 1995, Smith had been successful in sequencing the genome of the ‘Haemophilus Influenzae’ bacteria at ‘The Institute for Genomics Research’ or ‘TIGR’ with help of other researchers. In 1998, He left the ‘John Hopkins’ and had joined the ‘Celera Genomics Corporation’. In 2006 Smith had become the head of the synthetic biology and biological energy research group of the ‘J. Craig Venter Institute’ which had been formed by merging TIGR and IBEA. He is recently holding the post of scientific director at privately owned ‘Synthetic Genomics’ and is busy with research on biofuels.

Unknown Facts:

  • Othanel is his middle name.
  • He loves to play the Piano.

Master Stroke:

  • In 1970, Hamilton Smith had published his first book ‘A restriction enzyme from Haemophilus Influenzae. 1. Purification and general projects’ with Kent W. Wilcox.

Awards and Achievements:

  • In 1978, He had received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

What can we learn from Him??

Like Hamilton Smith, Make your life goal Work hard to fulfill it. Focus on your goal, do not think about others opinions.

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