a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Continuing work on haemoglobin at Johns Hopkins


Giving a talk at the Association of American Physicians meeting
David Weatherall Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments
Unbeknown to me, McKusick sends an abstract of this to the Association of American Physicians meeting, which was the great meeting of the year. Atlantic City, they had the, all the American med- clinical investigation meetings, all at the same time, all careers were made and broke, you had to be at Atlantic City. They never told me any of this, nor did they rehearse me. I just found myself in a hotel bedroom the night before, and I looked at some of the, and had these big glass slides you see, and I noticed a couple of errors, so God, what do I do, so I rushed into town, bought some electricians black tape and cut little squares out and jammed them onto this slide. 6AM the next morning the phone rings, Mc Kusick, will you come for breakfast– 6AM. So I met him, I thought you know, this is going to be the great American breakfast experience, a cup of coffee and a piece of toast, and we were off on the boardwalk at quarter to seven. And then he suddenly veered off the boardwalk into this enormous building which is called the Steel Pier Theatre, and that’s where the meetings were held. I didn’t know that. Totally empty of course, walks down, sits on the front row, gets his papers out, starts writing. Completely ignored me, so after about half an hour, I said- Victor, what are we doing here? Oh, you’re talking here in about an hour’s time, he said. Can you imagine? So anyway, I gave this talk, and the inevitable happened. About, as these patched up slides came, with the heat of the projector the glue melt, and these black blobs started descending down the slides, and it was even worse than that, because the guy who’d preceded me was a very eminent American Professor of Medicine, who did- showed some experiments claiming to have transformed normal human bone marrow with sickle marrow. In other words, swapped the genes around, and he’d completely sold this to these physicians. They were up on their feet waving their papers and then of course, this rather banal Englishman with the bizarre slides followed, so there was a bit of polite applause. But after the lecture, Park Gerald, who was one of the great founders of haemoglobin field in the States, came up to me and he said- well gee he said, at least I heard a bit of science from you, that rubbish of the lecture before, but then he said- but why those black descending objects on the slides, you haven’t had a death in the family?

British Scientist Sir David Weatherall (1933-2018) was a world renowned expert on blood diseases, in particular thalassaemias, and used his expertise to help control and prevent these diseases in developing countries. He founded the Institute of Molecular Medicine at Oxford in 1989 and was knighted in 1987.

Listeners: Marcus Pembrey

Marcus Pembrey, now Emeritus, was Professor of Paediatric Genetics at the Institute of Child Health, University College London and consultant clinical geneticist at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children London. He is a visiting Professor at the University of Bristol UK, where he was the Director of Genetics within the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children until 2006. A past president of the European Society of Human Genetics, he is also the founding Chairman of the Progress Educational Trust.

Duration: 2 minutes, 49 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2007

Date story went live: 02 June 2008