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'Les compagnons de la libération'
François Jacob Scientist
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De Gaulle had created a medal for the war battles. At first, in particular he didn't want to give a 'Légion d'honneur', when we were still in England, until he took over the entire government. He didn't want to give 'Légions d'honneurs'. He created a medal for the people of Free France, which was called the 'croix de la libération'. There were 1020 or 1030 I think. I think that there were 1030. Now there are 120, the rest are gone.

[MM] Is that what constituted the order of the 'compagnons de la libération'?

Yes, that's right.

[MM] And is it something that was very important for you? It was THE decoration of Free France. There was another one afterwards that was called the 'médaille de la resistance', but which really wasn't as- really wasn't as chic.

De Gaulle a créé une médaille pour les combats de la guerre. Au début, en particulier il ne voulait pas donner de légion d'honneur, quand on était encore en Angleterre, jusqu'au moment où il a repris l'ensemble du gouvernement. Il ne voulait pas donner la légion d'honneur. Il a créé une médaille pour les gens de la France libre, qui s'appelait la Croix de la Libération. Et il y en a eu je crois 1 020 ou 1 030. Je crois qu'il y en a eu 1 030. Il y en a maintenant 120, le reste est liquidé. C'est ça qui constituait l'ordre des compagnons de la libération ? Oui, c'est ça. Et c'est quelque chose qui a beaucoup compté pour vous ? C'était LA décoration de la France libre. Il y en a une autre après qui s'appelait la médaille de la résistance, mais qui était beaucoup moins- beaucoup moins chic.

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 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'.

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.

Duration: 56 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008