Walter Elsasser

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Walter Elsasser was a very interesting chap who began as a quantum physicist and then move into geophysics, and finally into a kind of early systems biology - he called it conceptual biology. He was highly successful in the first two fields, and was fairly unlucky on a couple of occasions not to get a Nobel Prize. His biology got a bit of a rough ride, and is now more or less forgotten, but is definitely worth a look if you are interested in biological complexity. I had a really hard time getting the paper out:

Gatherer D (2008) Finite universe of discourse. The systems biology of Walter Elsasser (1904-1991). The Open Biology Journal 2 4-15.
It can be downloaded here

It was about 3 years in various drafts and got bounced by 4 journals. The referees' comments were quite interesting - the ones that can't see the point in Elsasser couldn't see why anybody would want to read about him, the small hard-core that still love him thought I was being excessively critical. Meanwhile, word seemed to get around that I was the Elsasser "expert" (in his biology, at least), and I then got invited to help out with his appearance in the new Dictionary of Scientific Biography:

Beyler R & Gatherer D (2007) Walter Elsasser (biography). In: Dictionary of Scientific Biography, new ed. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons Inc.

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