February 1, 2021

Robert J. Lefkowitz and Randy Hall

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series, the Harvard Univeristy Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome Nobel Laureate ROBERT J. LEFKOWITZ and co-author RANDY HALL—former post-doctoral trainee of Dr. Lefkowitz and Professor at the Emory University School of Medicine—for a discussion of their book A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm: The Adrenaline-Fueled Adventures of an Accidental Scientist. Their conversation will be moderated by THOMAS MICHEL, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.


Like Richard Feynman in the field of physics, Dr. Robert Lefkowitz is also known for being a larger-than-life character: a not-immodest, often self-deprecating, always entertaining raconteur. Indeed, when he received the Nobel Prize, the press corps in Sweden covered him intensively, describing him as “the happiest Laureate.”

In addition to his time as a physician, from being a "yellow beret" in the public health corps with Dr. Anthony Fauci to his time as a cardiologist, and his extraordinary transition to biochemistry, which would lead to his Nobel Prize win, Dr. Lefkowitz has ignited passion and curiosity as a fabled mentor and teacher.

But it's all in a day's work, as Lefkowitz reveals in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm, which is filled to the brim with anecdotes and energy, and gives us a glimpse into the life of one of today's leading scientists. 

About Author(s)

Randy Hall was a post-doctoral trainee of Dr. Lefkowitz in the 1990’s and is now a Professor in the Emory University School of Medicine. He has published more than one hundred scientific papers and received major awards for his research. He is also a prize-winning educator with strong interests in science writing and public outreach about science and meddicine.

Robert J. Lefkowitz is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist (Chemistry, 2012) who is best known for showing how adrenaline works via stimulation of specific receptors. He was trained at Columbia, the NIH and Harvard before joining the faculty at Duke University and becoming an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In addition to being a researcher, Dr. Lefkowitz is a cardiologist as well as a cardiac patient.

Thomas Michel is a specialist in cardiovascular medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). In addition, he is a professor of medicine (Biochemistry) at Harvard Medical School (HMS) and associate director of the Harvard/Massachusetts Institute of Technology MD-PhD Program.