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The original item was published from 10/12/2019 1:25:01 PM to 10/20/2019 12:00:00 AM.

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News & Town Board Reports (gblist)

Posted on: October 12, 2019

[ARCHIVED] 2 school districts within Greenburgh played a role in preparing students for Nobel Prizes!

Over the years the Greenburgh Town Board has recognized -at the beginning of many of our meetings- some brilliant students who attend area schools.  Sometimes, after listening to their presentations, we mention that one day they may be a Nobel prize recipient.  At least two school districts within Greenburgh have played a role in preparing students for their Nobel prizes. Gregg Semenza grew up in Tarrytown and won the Nobel Prize earlier this week.

In 2006 the NY Daily News wrote about the village of Hastings on Hudson. They called the village a "Brainy Town" for being the home of six Nobel Prize recipients (see article below)- a record number of Nobels per capita. 

If you know of any other Nobel Prize recipient who grew up or lived in unincorporated Greenburgh or in one of our villages - please advise me by e mailing me at

And - if your son or daughter is passionate about their studies --let them know that winning a Nobel Prize one day is a possibility if they work hard enough. We want today's students who live in Greenburgh to be tomorrows Nobel Laureate's.
Paul Feiner

 A Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine was awarded to a man who grew up in Tarrytown and went to Sleepy Hollow High School. Gregg L. Semenza, the C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, will be sharing the award with William G. Kaelin Jr. and Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe.

Semenza, 63, according to The Hub, a Johns Hopkins Hospital publication, was recognized for his discoveries on how cells respond to low oxygen levels and how it relates to treatments for a variety of illnesses.

Kaelin is affiliated with Harvard Medical School and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

SMARTY TOWN. Westchester hamlet home to 6 Nobels


THE VILLAGE of Hastings-on-Hudson must have something in its water - something that flows into the town's small public school. The Westchester County town - population 8,000 - has been home to six Nobel laureates, including two Hastings High School graduates, virtually guaranteeing a record number of Nobels per capita. "It's pretty remarkable," agreed Edmund (Ned) Phelps, HHS class of 1951 and this year's Nobel economics laureate, by phone from Hong Kong. The 73-year-old is traveling with his wife until his Dec. 8 Nobel ceremony in Sweden. "It shows you lightning does strike twice in the same place," he added. In Hastings' case, half a dozen times. The late Max Theiler was the first Hastings Nobel laureate, winning in 1951 for medicine. "He liked the view of the Hudson, and it was a comfortable commute," said Elizabeth Martin, Theiler's only child, a 67-year-old landscape designer from Dobbs Ferry. "Hillside Park swept up behind our house, and he liked the natural environment.

" Theiler's friends and neighbors included Robert Merton, the legendary Columbia sociologist, whose middle child, Robert C. Merton, graduated from HHS in 1962 and won the 1997 Nobel in economics. "The amazing thing was the high school," said Robert C. Merton, 62, a Harvard Business School professor. "I had an amazing education. This wasn't something special to me - it was available to everyone.

" "It was a very rich community in which to teach, as well as to live," agreed Ray Smith, 80, who taught Merton and student-taught Phelps over 14 years as a Hastings teacher. Now living in Arizona, Smith returns for HHS commencement nearly every year. Hastings' public K-12 school was also why Jack Steinberger - 1988 Nobel laureate in physics - moved his family there from New York City in 1951. "The schools were good," said the physicist from his Geneva, Switzerland, home (he left Hastings in 1968). "It was clearly a privileged place to live.

" Steinberger once worked at Columbia's Nevis Laboratory - at the same time as the late 1975 Nobel-winning physicist James Rainwater. "My brothers and I were always horrified the day after 'Back to School Night' by stories about how my father had grilled the math and science teachers," Bill Rainwater, one of James Rainwater's three sons, said wryly. HHS grads Merton and Phelps lauded the school's knack for unique classes and energetic teachers, such as Merton's science teacher, who summered at MIT to learn a specialized course subject. "As innately intelligent as these people were, the seeds of their genius were certainly nurtured in the Hastings school," Hastings mayor William Lee Kinnally said proudly. "I still remember Mrs. Murphy, who taught me arithmetic and handwriting," recalled Phelps. "She was very nice - and very attractive," he added, laughing. "But it wasn't just Mrs. Murphy. There were very dedicated teachers in the high school. They even invented a very serious musicology course one semester. That kind of creativity is probably not as common now.

" jkesner@nydailynews.

com Graphic: BRAIN GAIN IN N.

Y. VILLAGE EDMUND (NED) PHELPS 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics Moved to Hastings-on-Hudson from Chicago in 1939 at age 6, graduated from HHS in 1951. Now lives on the upper East Side with wife Viviana. MAX THEILER 1951 Nobel Prize in Physiology (Medicine) Hastings-on-Hudson resident, 1931-1964. His daughter, Elizabeth Martin, lives in nearby Dobbs Ferry. JAMES RAINWATER 1975 Nobel Prize in Physics Hastings-on-Hudson resident from 1952 until his death in 1986. His wife remained in Hastings until her death last January. All three Rainwater sons graduated from HHS (James, 1963; Robert, 1966; William, 1970). JACK STEINBERGER 1988 Nobel Prize in Physics Hastings-on-Hudson resident, 1951-1968. Two of his sons graduated from HHS (Joseph, 1962; Ned, 1967). WILLIAM VICKREY 1996 Nobel Prize in Economics The longtime Hastings resident and beloved Columbia prof died of a heart attack three days after winning the Nobel. His wife Cecile lives in a Westchester nursing home; they had no children. ROBERT C. MERTON 1997 Nobel Prize in Economics Hastings-on-Hudson resident, 1944-1962, Hastings High School class of 1962. His sister still lives in Hastings, as do two of his three children and their families. Graphic Map Hastings-on-Hudson

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