a story lives forever
Register
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Register
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.

NEXT STORY

Starting at Lwoff's laboratory

RELATED STORIES

A new direction: molecular biology
François Jacob Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

Well, as it happens I really didn't know what to do, that- The war over. I tried a series of things.

[MM] I think that your cousin by marriage, Herbert Markovich, played an important role.

Yes. That is that he had- he was sort of in the same situation. He hadn't been in the war for as long, but he had still done some. He had tried to do some research and he had ended up at Ephrussi's laboratory where he was doing some interesting things. As for me, for a while I really tried a few things. I almost presented myself- following a friend called Pauphilet, who was the son of the Normale's principal, whom I'd met during the war, who told me- you know, there's a new school of adminstration that's just been created. There's special examination for those who were in the war. I'm going to take it you should come as well. So all right, good idea. I bought a law book, it fell from my hands, and after two days, I said- I'm over and done with, with the administration school. So I did a series of things like that. And then eventually- so yes there was Markovich with whom I had dinner. His wife was my wife's cousin. We had dinner together once in a while. He told me that he had gone to see Boris. He had done more or less about the same thing as me. He didn't know what to do more than I did, he was at the same stage of incompetence. He was working for Boris Ephrussi, where he was doing some things that really interested him. So I tried to get some tips. There were two guys who were Normale graduates, one was Lwoff's student, the other, who I knew, was Ephrussi's student. I went to interview them. Because of the things I had read I had nonetheless, by reading small things here and there, I had reached the conclusion that between bacterium, nucleic acid and genetics, something was more than likely to happen. So it was in that direction that we needed to look. It's the only thing that came to my me at the time. And so, I talked with those two guys, through which it appeared that there were two laboratories that could take care of these sorts of things, which were Ephrussi and Lwoff. And, the two guys added, Lwoff's laboratory is much more interesting than Ephrussi's laboratory.

Ben il se trouve que je ne savais absolument pas quoi faire, que- La guerre finie. J'ai essayé un certain nombre de choses. J'ai- Je crois que votre cousin par alliance, Herbert Markovich, qui a joué un rôle important. Oui. C'est-à-dire qu'il avait- Lui était un peu dans le même cas. Il avait fait un peu moins de guerre que moi, mais il avait fait aussi un peu de guerre. Et finalement il avait essayé de faire de la recherche et il avait atterri chez Ephrussi et il faisait des choses très intéressantes. Alors moi, pendant un certain temps, j'ai vraiment essayé plusieurs trucs. J'ai failli me présenter à la suite d'un copain qui s'appelait Pauphilet, qui était le fils du directeur de Normale, que j'avais connu pendant la guerre, qui m'a dit- Tu sais, il y a une nouvelle école d'administration qui vient de se former. Il y a un concours spécial pour les gens qui ont fait la guerre. Moi je me présente, tu devrais venir aussi. Alors d'accord, bonne idée. J'ai acheté un livre de droit, il m'est tombé des mains, et au bout de deux jours, j'ai dit- Terminé, l'école d'administration. Alors j'ai fait un certain nombre de trucs comme ça. Et puis finalement, alors effectivement il y avait Markovich avec qui j'ai dîné. Sa femme était une cousine de ma femme. On dînait de temps en temps ensemble. Il m'a expliqué qu'il était chez Boris. Il avait fait à peu près la même chose. Et il n'en savait pas plus que moi, il en était au même point de nullité. Il était entré chez Boris Ephrussi où il faisait des choses qui l'intéressaient beaucoup. Alors là, j'ai essayé de me tuyauter. Il y avait deux types qui étaient des anciens normaliens, l'un était un élève de Lwoff et l'autre, l'élève de Ephrussi, que je connaissais. J'ai été les interviewer. Parce que de mes lectures j'avais tout de même, en lisant des petits trucs à droite et à gauche, j'étais tout de même arrivé à la conclusion qu'entre bactérie, acide nucléique et génétique, il allait probablement se passer quelque chose. Donc c'est par là qu'il fallait essayer de regarder. C'est la seule chose qui m'est venue là. Et alors donc, j'ai discuté avec ces deux types là, d'où il est apparu qu'il y avait deux laboratoires qui pouvaient s'occuper de ce genre de chose, qui étaient Ephrussi et Lwoff. Et,ils m'ont ajouté les deux types, le laboratoire Lwoff est beaucoup plus intéressant que le laboratoire Ephrussi.

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: 3 minutes, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008