Edited by Philip Arestis and Malcolm Sawyer
AVIDSON (born 1930) Paul Davidson was born on 23 October 1930, a year less one day after the great Stock Market Crash of 1929. He grew up in a middle-class neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York. His father was a general contractor who designed and remodelled store fronts. Despite the Great Depression and its obvious negative effects on investments and the retail trade, Davidson’s father was able to eke out a living by working 12 to 14 hours a day – often six or seven days a week. Davidson’s mother remained a traditional housewife although she kept the books for the family ﬁrm. At the beginning of the Second World War she entered the regular labour market and continued to work as a bookkeeper until she retired in the 1970s. As a teenager Davidson worked in his father’s business during the summer when school was not in session. Davidson’s family put a great stress on education and wanted him to become a ‘professional’ – preferably a medical doctor. Davidson did attend Brooklyn College, where tuition and fees averaged less than $25 per year, graduating in 1950 with majors in Chemistry and Biology. From 1950 to 1952 he was a graduate student in biochemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, completing most of the course work for the Ph.D. degree while working as an instructor in biochemistry at the university’s Medical and Dental Schools. He had decided to do a Ph.D. thesis regarding DNA (this was before the discovery of the ‘double helix’). Although he...
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