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Berlin in the 1990s


Why science in Germany is so good
Avrion Mitchison Scientist
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I believe that some of the most productive work in the world, particularly in Europe, is being done in German laboratories, and I think that is because the German system somehow allows groups to build up in which the interactions are- from the outside people think that the boss is bossing things around because there usually is one strong leader there, but in truth, I know that in the large groups which built up around, notably around Rajewsky and the university in Cologne, or around Hemeling in the German Cancer Research Centre, the boss, although he was- he always seemed quite willing to you know, discuss anything with students, and I think they probably don't really like to hear- to find out that major developments are going on without them being told, that the productive interactions are among the post-docs and the PhD students, those groups have been and are, still are, immensely productive. And in fact the best scientists- well not- most of the best scientists, and they were only a handful anyway, two or three of them, who came to the Rheuma Centre, came from Cologne where as I mentioned before, Rajewsky over the years has become a very close friend. And my successor in Berlin was Andreas Radbruch, and he was a product of the Rajewsky School and I am perfectly willing to claim, because I believe it to be true, that I was responsible for bringing Andreas to Berlin. He might have come otherwise of course, because he was a very, very good man, but I thought we need somebody of Andreas' calibre, somebody with that background of knowing the large or relatively large university group in which these strong interactions could take place, and I think he's been tremendously successful in that.

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: 2 minutes, 36 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2004

Date story went live: 29 September 2010