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Science as AutobiographyThe Troubled Life of Niels Jern$
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Thomas Soderqvist

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300094411

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300094411.001.0001

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“I Think the Work Has Principal Application to Immunology”

“I Think the Work Has Principal Application to Immunology”

(p.124) 11 “I Think the Work Has Principal Application to Immunology”
Science as Autobiography

Thomas Söderqvist

Yale University Press

This chapter shows that, by the late summer of 1949, Niels Jerne had sufficient experiments behind him to be able to choose between the univalence theory and the multivalence theory. The theoretical curves derived from the univalence theory did not match the experimental data well, whereas the curves that had been derived from the multivalence theory did; hence the multivalence model permitted a “reasonable explanation of the experimental data.” He could show that high values of the reaction constant correspond to the steep neutralization curves obtained on titration of high-avidity sera, and low values to the more horizontal neutralization curves obtained from sera produced some weeks after the first toxin injection. In contrast to the prevalent view that phenomena such as “ready dissociation, flatness of neutralization curves, and longer reaction times” were not necessarily related, Jerne could demonstrate that these phenomena would indeed “be expected to go hand in hand.”

Keywords:   univalence theory, multivalence theory, theoretical curves, experimental data, toxin injection

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