Selman Waksman was born in Priluka, Russia in 1888. He emigrated to the United States and attended Rutgers University, where he graduated in 1915.
Waksman's researches into the breaking down of organic substances by micro-organisms and into antibiotics led to his discovery of streptomycin in 1943.
Waksman, who won the Nobel Prize for medicine in 1952, wrote several books including Enzymes (1926), Principles of Soil Microbiology (1938) and the autobiographical, My Life with the Microbes(1954). Selman Waksman died in 1973.