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Life in the army


The GI Bill funds my university education
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
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I also learned, by the third or fourth month of my course work at Penn that my parents really couldn't afford to send me to university and my sister also; I had one younger sister, younger by about a year and a half. So that when I went... when I learned this, I also learned that the, what we call the GI Bill, existed in the United States at that time and that the war legally, legally, was not over in the United States until 15th May of 1946. My 18th birthday, I now recall, was on the 20th May, five days after the war legally ended, which meant that I could have escaped the draft. The draft was still ongoing, it was… it was fading out, but I would have been drafted on 20th May... I'm sorry, on... on 20th May, but because the war ended on 15th May, I could escape. But I chose not to, because the GI Bill was very appealing. It would... It was an 18-month enlistment in the Army; it would then provide me, after that period of time, with a full four year scholarship, if you will, actually payment, to the University of Pennsylvania. And it would relieve my parents of that obligation, allow my sister to go to university and also in some way, I suppose, make me a bit more mature for the company that I would then have at the university.

And that's exactly what I did. I received a leave of absence, which allowed me to return when I finished my military obligation, and entered the military with a rather uneventful career.

Leonard Hayflick (b. 1928), the recipient of several research prizes and awards, including the 1991 Sandoz Prize for Gerontological Research, is known for his research in cell biology, virus vaccine development, and mycoplasmology. He also has studied the ageing process for more than thirty years. Hayflick is known for discovering that human cells divide for a limited number of times in vitro (refuting the contention by Alexis Carrel that normal body cells are immortal), which is known as the Hayflick limit, as well as developing the first normal human diploid cell strains for studies on human ageing and for research use throughout the world. He also made the first oral polio vaccine produced in a continuously propogated cell strain - work which contributed to significant virus vaccine development.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: University of Pennsylvania, Serviceman's Readjustment Act

Duration: 2 minutes, 28 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012