Maurice Hilleman

1919-2005 (85 years old)

United States

Year of great discovery/work
1941 (award-winning thesis showed that chlamydia was a bacterium and not a virus – as previously thought) – 1988 (National Medal of Science recipient)

Hilleman defined antigenic drift and shift for influenza, discovered interferon and identified adenovirus. He also correctly predicted an influenza pandemic allowing time for production of vaccine. He also developed eight of the 14 commonly recommended vaccines. Because of the sheer number of vaccines Hilleman developed, he is believed to have saved more lives than any other scientist in the 20th century. Despite his incredible achievements, none of his vaccines or discoveries are named after him.

Did you know?
Hilleman’s work saves about 8 million lives per year.