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Discovery of cyclic AMP creates a stir


The brilliant JBS Haldane
John Bonner Scientist
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[Q] Was [JBS] Haldane clearly brilliant, would you say?

Oh, yes.

[Q] How would you conjure him us, as it were, you know?

Well, I think he really was brilliant. In the first place, he was a very good mathematician. He also had a very deep understanding of anything connected with genetics. In fact, I suspect deeper than anybody else. And he also of course, this is what he's famous for, loved to say difficult things, be difficult for people, and keep the pot stirred which he was very good at. And I don't know if you read in the book there, his letters to me about my book I sent him. He says, 'You wrote clearly enough, so people will be able to disagree with you', which is perfect form for him.

John Tyler Bonner (born in 1920) is an emeritus professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. He is a pioneer in the use of cellular slime molds to understand evolution and development and is one of the world's leading experts on cellular slime molds. He says that his prime interests are in evolution and development and that he uses the cellular slime molds as a tool to seek an understanding of those twin disciplines. He has written several books on developmental biology and evolution, many scientific papers, and has produced a number of works in biology. He has led the way in making Dictyostelium discoideum a model organism central to examining some of the major questions in experimental biology.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: JBS Haldane

Duration: 1 minute, 15 seconds

Date story recorded: February 2016

Date story went live: 14 September 2016