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JBS Haldane and experiments


Helping out in the Drosophila lab in the holidays
Avrion Mitchison Scientist
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I used to go back to University College and it was always a hoot. He- I remember going back in- I went back to spend a summer in London, not going- not going to Carradale, working in the Natural History Museum, which was kind enough to take me on as a- I suppose what would now be called a volunteer. There was no system for it in those days, but I had turned up- or I wrote to them and I said I wanted to go, and they said, oh that's all right. And so that was nice. And then- I used to call in a lot on Jack in those days, and what I remember from that time, was the drosophila lab which Jim Rendell had been working in and Hans Kalmus had been working in, was petering on but also petering out, actually. There weren't many people still working there. But they had all these- the flies were kept in small glass milk bottles which had an air porous stopper. And they, the drosophila crawl up- they have at the bottom, they have a layer of agar with nutrients and they crawl up the side of the bottle and they pupate and at the end of this, the milk bottles are absolutely filthy because it leaves all this larvae stuck to the side. So there was Jack, they had a rather sort of Victorian bottle washing machine and he was washing the bottles and complaining vigorously about doing- having to do so. Complaining very much. So I said to him, I was a little more confident already in those days, and I said, oh Jack go away and I will do this. So he stomped out. But he was getting crosser and crosser that I was doing it, because he'd lost his opportunity to lose his temper about having to do so.

Avrion Mitchison, the British zoologist, is currently Professor Emeritus at University College London and is best known for his work demonstrating the role of lymphocytes in tumour rejection and for the separate and cooperative roles of T- and B-lymphocytes in this and other processes.

Listeners: Martin Raff

Martin Raff is a Canadian-born neurologist and research biologist who has made important contributions to immunology and cell development. He has a special interest in apoptosis, the phenomenon of cell death.



Listen to Martin Raff at Web of Stories



Duration: 1 minute, 44 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008