a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
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.


Deciding to apply to Prague and the entrance exam


Wanting both - to teach and to be a botanist
Jan Klein Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

The gymnasium which I visited from 1951 through 1954... it was decided that I wouldn't go to... I would attend the university to study botany. Botany, but not as a professional botanist, but as a teacher. My very naive thinking was at that time that I could be both, that I could be a teacher and a botanist. Many of the professors at the gymnasium in the older times, were that kind. Most of the studies on the flora of Silesia, of Czechoslovakia were done by these kind of people; it was a hobby for them. They were teachers of biology and in their free time they were registering the plants in the different areas, so I wanted to be of the same kind. I thought it's not fair to be a scientist and be paid for it, to me it looked like it was always fun. And I didn't think I should be paid for having fun so I wanted to have an occupation where I could... which I could be paid for and then on my free time be a botanist. So I applied to the university which was directed toward educating teachers. I sent the application to a different school than I normally should have done... the closest such university, to my area where I was born was in Olomouc or in Brno. Olomouc and Brno, both in Moravia, so most of the students who went from Silesia went to either of these two universities and I was expected to do the same thing.

Born in 1936, Jan Klein is a Czech-American immunologist who co-founded the modern science of immunogenetics – key to understanding illness and disease. He is the author or co-author of over 560 scientific publications and of seven books including 'Where Do We Come From?' which examines the molecular evolution of humans. He graduated from the Charles University at Prague in 1955, and received his MS in Botany from the same school in 1958. From 1977 to his retirement in 2004, he was the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology at Tübingen, Germany.

Listeners: Colm O'hUigin

Colm O'hUigin is a senior staff scientist at the US National Cancer Institute. He received his BA, MSc and PhD at the Genetics Department of Trinity College, Dublin where he later returned as a lecturer. He has held appointments at the Center for Population and Demographic Genetics, UT Houston, and at the University of Cambridge. As an EMBO fellow, he moved in 1990 to the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen, Germany to work with Jan Klein and lead a research group studying the evolutionary origins of immune molecules, of teeth, trypanosomes and of species.

Tags: Czechoslovakia, Silesia, Olomouc, Brno, Moravia

Duration: 2 minutes, 36 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008