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Gunther Stent and working in pairs

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Salvador Luria
François Jacob Scientist
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I was absolutely convinced that- which is odd. Luria and Delbrück, that was something classic, it was an incredible experiment. Do Luria and Delbrück mean anything to you? Yes, yes. That really was an incredible experiment from a conceptual point of view as well the way in which it was done and everything. And so, they were very famous. In the lab, we talked about Luria and Delbrück all the time. And I don't know why, but I imagined Delbrück to be the short fat one and Luria the tall dark Italian. But it's the exact opposite. Luria wasn't fat but he was short and dark, whereas Delbrück was a tall blond. It's always surprising to see, to find out that the guys aren't like you imagined them to be. And, in your opinion, those were things that were so established that you already imagined the people- Yes, well in the lab, that's all we talked about. Luria and Delbrück it was- until the day we saw them. And you worked with Salvador Luria at Pasteur? Yes, he came over to Monod's lab a few times for a few months. So he was a short Italian, very dark with very warm blood, with a bad temper, screaming, very politically committed. Whereas Delbrück was a cold and calm guy.
J'étais tout à fait convaincu que- Ce qui est drôle. Luria et Delbrück c'était un truc classique, c'est une expérience extraordinaire. Ça vous dit quelque chose Luria et Delbrück ? Oui, oui. Ça c'était vraiment une expérience étonnante au point de vue conceptuel et la façon de le faire et tout. Et alors donc ils étaient très connus. On parlait tout le temps de Luria et Delbrück dans le labo. Et pour moi, je ne sais pas pourquoi, je voyais Delbrück comme un petit gros et Luria comme un maigre noir italien. Et c'est exactement le contraire. Luria il était pas gros mais il était un petit noir, alors que Delbrück était un grand jaune. C'est toujours étonnant de voir, de découvrir que les types ne sont pas comme on les croit être. En plus, pour vous, c'était presque des choses tellement acquises que vous imaginiez déjà des gens- Oui, enfin dans le labo, on ne parlait que de ça. Luria et Delbrück c'était- Jusqu'au jour où on les voit. Et Salvador Luria a travaillé avec vous à Pasteur ? Oui, il est venu chez Monod plusieurs fois pendant plusieurs mois. Alors lui c'était un petit italien, très brun, marrant, avec le sang très chaud, se mettant en colère, hurlant, politiquement très engagé. Alors que Delbrück était un type froid et calme.

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, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008