He served in the national policy arena as a member of the Board of Army Science and Technology and as the chair of the NIH committee to review the National Cancer plan and on the advisory committee of the human genome project. Elected to the National Academy of Science in 1969, he served on committees addressing Recombinant DNA, overseeing the disposal of US chemical weapon stockpiles and chemical warfare defense. He has been a member of the Visiting Committees at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Duke Universities. Zinder also served on the Board of Trustees (also served as Secretary to the Board) of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory from 1967 to 1986. Dr. Zinder died in New York on February 3, 2012, at the age of 83.
The Norton Zinder Collection at CSHL Library and Archives is composed of material accrued by Zinder as a student (Columbia University, University of Wisconsin), professor (Rockefeller University), and as a pioneering researcher in the field of molecular biology. The collection includes course notebooks, lecture notes and teaching files, scientific papers, correspondence, photographs, memorabilia, clippings, and material related to his fifty-year career at Rockefeller University. Specifically, the Biographical series includes 5 boxes of his notes and correspondence while an undergraduate and graduate student; as well as his thesis draft, family speeches, and 1962-1994 Rockefeller University photos. The Rockefeller University series includes 89 boxes of lab notebooks and slides, administrative correspondence, and an additional 42 boxes of reprints. The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory series is composed of 7 boxes of Board of Directors correspondence, minutes, blueprints and memorabilia. The Governmental Activities series of 52 boxes includes National Academy of Science (NAS) activities; the Human Genome Project; testimony before various governmental entities, and unclassified armed forces documents from National Research Council activities.