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The battle of Ksar Ghilane

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My first operations
François Jacob Scientist
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There was one, they brought in two soldiers who'd stolen some cows and had been captured by other soldiers who'd beaten them with rifles. One died when he arrived and the other one had his skull bashed in. So, I told myself: while we are here, why not try trepanning. His skull was visibly bashed in. So I had something to make holes, a sort of saw. And I took out a small piece of his skull. He was bleeding, I made a ligature, and it went so well that two days later, he escaped from the hospital. That was typical. There was another one that fell out of a tree. I don't remember what he was doing, he broke a leg. So on the first day I administered the medicine that we were doing at the hospital, I don't remember which one, in Paris. So I made him a cast. No! I made him a bandage, the kind that stretched. Well the next morning, I came back and he'd cut it. So I made him a cast, the next day I came back, and he had cut the cast. Two days later- So I made him a huge cast. The next day when I came back the guy had gone. His family had taken him. It was- you see that was the sort of medicine that there was.
Il y en a une, on a amené deux tirailleurs qui avaient volé des vaches et qui avaient été rattrapés par d'autres tirailleurs qui les avaient ramenés à coups de crosse. Il y en a un qui est mort en arrivant et l'autre qui avait le crâne enfoncé. Alors, je me suis dit- t'en qu'à faire, on va essayer de trépaner. Il y avait visiblement un enfoncement du crâne. Alors j'avais un truc pour faire des trous, une scie là. Et j'ai enlevé un petit morceau de crâne. Il saignait, j'ai fait une ligature, et ça s'est tellement bien passé que le surlendemain, il s'est évadé de l'hôpital. Ça c'était classique. Il y en avait un autre qui était tombé d'un arbre, je sais pas ce qu'il faisait,il s'était cassé une jambe. Alors le premier jour où je lui ai appliqué la médecine qu'on faisait à l'hôpital, je ne sais plus lequel, à Paris. J'ai donc fait un plâtre. Non ! Je lui ai fait un bandage, un truc qu'on étirait. Bon le lendemain matin, je suis revenu, il avait coupé les trucs. Alors, j'ai fait un plâtre, le lendemain je suis revenu, il avait coupé le plâtre. Le surlendemain- Alors je lui fais un énorme plâtre. Le lendemain, quand je suis revenu, le type était parti. Sa famille l'avait embarqué. C'était- Voilà le genre de médecine qu'il y avait.

François Jacob (1920-2013) was a French biochemist whose work has led to advances in the understanding of the ways in which genes are controlled. In 1965 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, together with Jacque Monod and André Lwoff, for his contribution to the field of biochemistry. His later work included studies on gene control and on embryogenesis. Besides the Nobel Prize, he also received the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science for 1996 and was elected a member of the French Academy in 1996.

Listeners: Michel Morange

Michel Morange est généticien et professeur à L'Université Paris VI ainsi qu'à l'Ecole Normale Supérieure où il dirige le Centre Cavaillès d'Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences. Après l'obtention d'une license en Biochimie ainsi que de deux Doctorats, l'un en Biochimie, l'autre en Histoire et Philosophie des Sciences, il rejoint le laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire dirigé par le Professeur François Jacob à l'Institut Pasteur. Ses principaux travaux de recherche se sont portés sur l'Histoire de la Biologie au XXème siècle, la naissance et le développement de la Biologie Moléculaire, ses transformations récentes et ses interactions avec les autres disciplines biologiques. Auteur de "La Part des Gènes" ainsi que de "Histoire de la Biologie Moléculaire", il est spécialiste de la structure, de la fonction et de l'ingénerie des protéines.

Michel Morange is a professor of Biology and Director of the Centre Cavaillès of History and Philosophy of Science at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. After having obtained a Bachelor in biochemistry and two PhDs, one in Biochemistry, the other in History and Philosophy of Science, he went on to join the research unit of Molecular Genetics headed by François Jacob, in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Pasteur Institute, Paris. Together with Olivier Bensaude, he discovered that Heat Shock Proteins are specifically expressed on the onset of the mouse zygotic genome activation. Since then he has been working on the properties of Heat Shock Proteins, their role in aggregation and on the regulation of expression of these proteins during mouse embryogenesis. He is the author of 'A History of Molecular Biology' and 'The Misunderstood Gene'.

Duration: 1 minute, 18 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008