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The evolution of religious thought


Religious considerations regarding the chair at Louvain
Christian de Duve Scientist
Comments (2) Please sign in or register to add comments
James Hanratty
Wednesday, 14 September 2011 04:10 PM
You CAN watch all the videos in one go. If you click 'Play Mode: All' in the video player bar, the...
You CAN watch all the videos in one go. If you click 'Play Mode: All' in the video player bar, the subsequent stories will play one after the other until the last story.
Sunday, 28 August 2011 08:21 PM
Incredible interview. Pity I couldn't watch it in one go. This is the 21st century, you know.

To me, when I was offered the chair, this was a major... a major problem – should I accept and therefore, sort of, bow down to this authority in some ways, or should I go elsewhere and be free? And, well, family reasons intervened; by that time I had two children, a wife of course, and especially our families... especially my wife's family were very much attached to the children and so on. And so moving away would have been a very traumatic experience for the whole family and so, more or less reluctantly, very reluctantly, I decided that I would accept. Professionally I can't complain because, I mean, the work that has made me known in the field of science was done at the Catholic University of Louvain so, obviously, they did not interfere with my freedom as a scientist and I remain grateful to them; they supported me whenever it was possible. And so the problem, for me, was simply that being a member of the faculty at the Catholic University of Louvain, I felt that my loyalty to the institution demanded that I should not publicly speak on religious matters. And so I kept... I kept that attitude for almost the whole of my life until very recently. Although, of course, my friends knew. And probably many of the university knew that I wasn't a very strong believer, but I never made a gesture, if I may say so.

Belgian biochemist Christian de Duve (1917-2013) was best known for his work on understanding and categorising subcellular organelles. He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 for his joint discovery of lysosomes, the subcellular organelles that digest macromolecules and deal with ingested bacteria.

Listeners: Peter Newmark

Peter Newmark has recently retired as Editorial Director of BioMed Central Ltd, the Open Access journal publisher. He obtained a D. Phil. from Oxford University and was originally a research biochemist at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School in London, but left research to become Biology Editor and then Deputy Editor of the journal Nature. He then became Managing Director of Current Biology Ltd, where he started a series of Current Opinion journals, and was founding Editor of the journal Current Biology. Subsequently he was Editorial Director for Elsevier Science London, before joining BioMed Central Ltd.

Tags: Catholic University of Louvain

Duration: 2 minutes, 24 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008