Louis Rapkine

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Louis Rapkine (July 14, 1904 in Tchichenitch of Belarus - December 13, 1948 in Paris) was a French biologist, specializing in embryology and enzymology, most known for his efforts in saving and restoring the French scientific community during World War II, largely assisted by the Rockefeller Foundation.[1]

His parents Israël Rapkine and Ida Sorkine moved as a result of the anti-Jewish Kiev pogrom (1905) to Paris (1911) and Montréal (1913), where he studied medicine at McGill University (1921–24), moving back to Paris in 1924. He worked with Charles Pérez and Maurice Caullery (1925) at Station biologique de Roscoff, at Collège de France under Emmanuel Fauré-Fremiet (1926), at the "Service de biophysique" of the Institut de biologie physico-chimique of Paris under René Wurmser (1927) and became famous for his joint research with P. Trpinac (1938).

Rapkine established the Comité français pour l'accueil et l'organisation du travail des savants étrangers (1936). During World War II, he founded the Bureau Scientifique de la France Libre in New York, and assisted thirty-five scientists in their secret emigration from occupied France in 1940. After the War, he was instrumental in securing American funds for the re-establishment of French scientific facilities, and had an intellectual and moral impact upon the young Jacques Monod. [2]

The Rapkine French Scientist Fund was established in his name (1951), to assist in the purchase of tools and materials for scientific use. It was overseen by Bethsabée de Rothschild. The fund was continued under the name of Pasteur Foundation (1985) in New York City (a part of the Pasteur Institute network).[3]

He died from cancer.



  • Karp, ed. (1988). Louis Rapkine (1904-48). Orpheus. 


  1. ^ Doris T. Zallen, Louis Rapkine and the Restoration of French Science after the Second World War, in French Historical Studies, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring, 1991), pp. 6-37
  2. ^ Crawford, Elisabeth T.; Shinn, T.; Sörlin, Sverker (1993). Denationalizing Science: The Contexts of International Scientific Practice. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 163–4. ISBN 9780792318552. Retrieved 8 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "Repères chronologiques, Louis Rapkine (1904-1948)". The french Pasteur Institute.