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Science in France

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Hubert Condamine and François Cuzin
François Jacob Scientist
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C'était un esprit universel. Il savait toute la biologie, il savait toute la littérature, la philosophie, il faisait du piano. Et puis de temps en temps, il disparaissait pendant huit jours pour aller faire du piano quelque part. C'était un personnage très très étonnant. Ça a été un de vos plus proches collaborateurs dans l'aventure de la souris ? Oui, il était très pour. Et malheureusement, il a disparu. Mais intellectuellement, il était très très brillant, très remarquable. Il connaissait tout en littérature, en philo, il était formidable. C'était un normalien littéraire, c'était un bon normalien ! Vous êtes normalien ? Non, je sais, ils ne sont pas tous bons. Ils sont pas tous bon. Il y en a qui sont insupportables. Il y a de tout comme partout. Mais lui était spécialement sympathique. Hubert, j'ai eu une peine immense à le voir disparaître. Formidable. Avant, vous avez eu François Cuzin aussi qui était normalien, qui était un bon normalien. Oui, un très bon normalien, très efficace. Et comment ça s'appelait les petites- Les épisomes- Il était très bon dans les épisomes. C'est lui qui a trouvé la plupart des trucs, les F, les facteurs, etc. Et puis au moment du modèle du réplicon il a été un de ceux qui a le plus participé aux expériences. Oui, c'est ça, les F, etc. Oui, il est très brillant lui. Il est à la retraite maintenant je crois. Oui, il est à la retraite, mais enfin il est encore très- Oui mais il est à Nice là. C'est un grand seigneur à Nice. Mais Hubert, il n'y en avait pas beaucoup de sa qualité. Il était exceptionnel Hubert. Tout à fait exceptionnel. Vous aimiez beaucoup parler avec lui et discuter avec lui. Oui, il était très très intéressant. Il avait des idées sur tout, il connaissait énormément de choses. Et vraiment, ça m'a beaucoup attristé, sa disparition.
He was a universal mind. He knew everything about biology, he knew all of literature, philosophy, he played the piano. And once in a while, he would disappear for eight days to go play the piano somewhere. He was a very very surprising person. He was one of your closest colleagues in the mouse adventure? Yes, he was very much in favour of it. And unfortunately, he passed away. But intellectually he was very very bright, really remarkable. He knew everything about literature, philosophy, he was fantastic. He was a literary Normale graduate, a good Normale graduate! Are you a Normale graduate? No, I know, they're not all good. They're not all good. Some are unbearable. There's a little of everything like everywhere. But he was particularly friendly. I felt tremendous pain seeing Hubert go. Incredible. Beforehand, you had François Cuzin who was a Normale graduate, a good Normale graduate. Yes, a very good Normale graduate, very efficient. And what were they called the little- episomes- episomes were really good. He's the one who found the majority of things, the F, the factors, etc. And at the time of the replicon model, he was one of those who participated the most. Yes, that's right, the F, etc. Yes, he was very bright. I think he's retired now. Yes he's retired but he's still very- Yes, but he's in Nice now. He's a powerful lord in Nice. But there weren't many of Hubert's quality. Hubert was exceptional. Absolutely exceptional. You really enjoyed talking and discussing things with him. Yes, he was very very interesting. He had ideas about everything, he knew a lot of things. And his passing truly saddened me.

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: 2 minutes, 17 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2004

Date story went live: 24 January 2008