When Earl was ten, the family moved to
San Bernardino, California. During his high school years,
Earl became interested in debating and represented his
school as leader of the debating team. "EarlYou
will someday, no doubt, be a great orator and statesman,"
wrote one of his classmates. Indeed, Earl learned the
virtues of logical analysis, efficient communication,
and leadership, all of which he employed during his
career as a scientist.
Earl's interest in science came
from rather practical considerations. In 1937 Earl
took several courses in science at San Bernardino Valley
College with the hope of setting up a soil-testing
laboratory, a business that looked promising to him.
However, realizing that he needed a more rigorous education,
Earl enrolled in the University of California, Berkeley,
in 1940. His brother and sister lent him the money
for registration, and he supported himself by washing
dishes in a boarding house and glassware in a laboratory.
He also received some assistance from the government
through the National Youth Administration program.
In 1942, Earl earned his B.S. in soil science.
Video: Earl Stadtman on
how he became a biochemist
Running time: 2:51 minutes