PerspectiveRetrospective

Norman L. Letvin (1949–2012)

Science  29 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6089, pp. 1653
DOI: 10.1126/science.1225947

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Summary

He stood in thought, attentive to every detail, ready for his delivery. Well known for his clear and insightful presentations, Norman Letvin strode onstage with a different agenda this time. Clarinet in hand, he graced us, his scientific colleagues, with a world-class musical performance. Most did not even know that he played a musical instrument. But Norm was a remarkable talent who broke new ground, not only in the laboratory but also in music. He once played Mozart's clarinet quintet accompanied by Yo-Yo Ma. Sadly, his enthralling performances will be heard no more. After a long and valiant struggle with pancreatic cancer, Norman Letvin passed away on 28 May in Boston, Massachusetts. He fought this disease bravely for almost 5 years and, despite overwhelming medical challenges, maintained his commitment to the search for an AIDS vaccine and continued working until a week before he died.