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The winter seminars


Public lectures
Manfred Eigen Scientist
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I give many lectures, public lectures, on many subjects... general subjects and scientific subjects... and I must tell you I like it. I like to give lectures and I have the feeling that people like it too.

[Q] Yes, I have the feeling that the audience likes it too, because your lecture hall always are filled... very filled.

And also we organise seminars and even there's time for hobbies. What hobbies? Well, music I mentioned already. There was a time where I did quite a bit, where I practised in order to perform publicly... concert, and at the moment I don't have time because writing the book, organising the company, and organising the group, that's too much. So I hope when I'm through with the book that I come back to... and I know already what I will practise then. But I also had some sports I like. A friend, Hans Frauenfelder, a physicist, now in Los Alamos after his retirement, is Swiss-born. All Swiss-born physicists are good mountaineers, so we went climbing mountains, even our two sons. So, his son, Uli, and my son, Gerald, they both are professors now, Uli for linguistics and Gerald for elementary particle physics... they both came along and it was always who's fastest, the two sons or the two old-timers? And I think we did very well, and we climbed up to the fifth degree, it was quite... with rope, and...

[Q] And your daughter, did she join you?

Angela? No, Angela is more for the practical things. She's organising in a firm the foreign part in east Asia, so she learnt languages, that's her hobby. She is more like her mother... practical.

Nobel Prize winning German biophysical chemist, Manfred Eigen (1927-2019), was best known for his work on fast chemical reactions and his development of ways to accurately measure these reactions down to the nearest billionth of a second. He published over 100 papers with topics ranging from hydrogen bridges of nucleic acids to the storage of information in the central nervous system.

Listeners: Ruthild Winkler-Oswatitch

Ruthild Winkler-Oswatitsch is the eldest daughter of the Austrian physicist Klaus Osatitsch, an internationally renowned expert in gas dynamics, and his wife Hedwig Oswatitsch-Klabinus. She was born in the German university town of Göttingen where her father worked at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Aerodynamics under Ludwig Prandtl. After World War II she was educated in Stockholm, Sweden, where her father was then a research scientist and lecturer at the Royal Institute of Technology.

In 1961 Ruthild Winkler-Oswatitsch enrolled in Chemistry at the Technical University of Vienna where she received her PhD in 1969 with a dissertation on "Fast complex reactions of alkali ions with biological membrane carriers". The experimental work for her thesis was carried out at the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in Göttingen under Manfred Eigen.

From 1971 to the present Ruthild Winkler-Oswatitsch has been working as a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen in the Department of Chemical Kinetics which is headed by Manfred Eigen. Her interest was first focused on an application of relaxation techniques to the study of fast biological reactions. Thereafter, she engaged in theoretical studies on molecular evolution and developed game models for representing the underlying chemical proceses. Together with Manfred Eigen she wrote the widely noted book, "Laws of the Game" (Alfred A. Knopf Inc. 1981 and Princeton University Press, 1993). Her more recent studies were concerned with comparative sequence analysis of nucleic acids in order to find out the age of the genetic code and the time course of the early evolution of life. For the last decade she has been successfully establishing industrial applications in the field of evolutionary biotechnology.

Tags: piano, rock climbing, mountaineers, Hans Frauenfelder, Ulrich Frauenfelder, Gerald Eigen, Angela Eigen

Duration: 2 minutes, 35 seconds

Date story recorded: July 1997

Date story went live: 29 September 2010