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James Frederick Danielli (1911-1984)
Jim's friends said that he had a good sense of humor. When he was grown up and famous, he liked to trick newspaper reporters and pull jokes on them. He also had the reputation of being a "Boy Scout", and "never breaking any rules, even when there was no one around to watch him", as one friend put it.

Jim was a Jr., as his father had the same name. Jim's father was a well-known civil servant in the British civil government. Apparently, no one in his family had any interest or involvement in science.

So how did Jim get interested in science? We think it was because Jim grew up in the country and lived close to animals and plants. He went to a rural school, where he turned out to be the best student. He won a scholarship to the University College of London. He quickly developed an interest in chemistry, and he and one of his classmate friends, Hugh Davson, spent many hours debating how membranes might be built. Years later, they developed a theory that dominated scientific thought for several decades, and parts of that theory are still accepted today.

After he obtained his first doctoral degree, he took a job at Princeton University in New Jersey during the Great Depression. At Princeton, Jim  became a Socialist and, when he wasn't in the laboratory, he was on the street corners preaching the need to make the U.S. a Socialist state. He was attracted to Communism, but eventually became disillusioned with it and became more conservative. About this time, Jim married Mary Guy, a poet, who later became an anthropologist. They were life-long friends and enjoyed sharing their interests in science.

In 1935, Jim and his family returned to England to work at Cambridge University. There he renewed his friendship with Hugh Davson. When World War II started, Jim conducted experiments on practical things like wound healing. During this time he also developed an antidote to the poison, Lewisite. This discovery resulted from working with compounds that could not cross membranes and thus stay in the blood to combat the circulating poison.

In later years, Jim also worked in Buffalo at the State University of New York. From 1970 on, he became closely involved in NASA research. He studied the possibility of life on other planets and several projects related to environmental health issues, such as waste-water treatment, overgrowth of plant life in lakes and ponds, pollution effects of urban water runoff, and effects of pollution on life in the sea.