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Aaron Novick


Leo Szilard
François Jacob Scientist
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Leo Szilard... he's just like a bumblebee who goes from one flower to the next and fertilises just about anything. Szilard is also extraordinary, an incredible, surprising man. He had 10 ideas a minute. He had ideas about everything. I must have forgotten now, but he had... I have somewhat forgotten his ideas... but there were things to make money, to do experiments, to...

[Q] I know that he was very active in anti nuclear weapon movements, wasn't he?

Yes, he was very active. He was one of the guys... He went to see Einstein, he took him by the arm, and took him to see... who was it then?

[Q] Roosevelt. Basically, he was the one behind the atomic bomb...

He's the one that set the whole thing off, yes. So it was... But he was very surprising.

Leo Szilard, ça c'est exactement comme le bourdon qui va d'une fleur à une autre et qui féconde un peu tout. Lui il était extraordinaire aussi alors, Szilard, incroyable personnage, étonnant. Alors il avait 10 idées à la minute. Et il avait des idées pour tout. Je dois avoir oublier maintenant, mais il avait des... Alors j'ai un peu oublié ses idées... Mais il avait des trucs pour faire du fric, pour faire des expériences pour faire...

[Q] Je sais qu'il avait été actif dans les mouvements anti-armes nucléaires, non?

Oui, il a été très actif. Lui c'est un des types... Lui il est allé chez Einstein, il a pris Einstein par la manche, l'a emmené chez... c'était qui à ce moment là?

[Q] Roosevelt. C'est lui qui a été, au fond, à l'origine de la bombe atomique...

C'est lui qui a déclenché le truc, oui. Alors c'était... Mais il était très étonnant.

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'.

Tags: Albert Einstein, Leo Szilard

Duration: 1 minute, 7 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008