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Bureaucracy and citizenship (American)

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America: first impressions
Renato Dulbecco Scientist
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So I arrived in New York, in the USA and naturally when the ship had crossed the entrance of the port of New York, it passed under the Statue of Liberty- it was truly amazing, a fantastic emotion. Then we got off- then the interesting thing is that the boat arrived at the port, it docked there and after a while the immigration officer came aboard to check all the passengers' papers, so we all lined up one after the other and waited, waited quite a while until it was my turn. My turn came and I showed my papers, etc. The immigration officer studied my papers extensively and spent much more time than with some of other immigrants who were with me. This worried me- I was thinking that perhaps something wasn't right, but in the end he gave me back my papers, wrote something on the passport and said-OK, you can go. So I went down to the pier and headed towards where the luggage was to look for my suitcase. At a certain point, I heard somebody running behind me. Curiosity made me turn round and it was the same person, the immigration officer who came up to me and said-Please give me your passport. Again, I was extremely worried- thinking that I'd have to get back on the boat and they'd take me back. And he crossed out what he had written and replaced it with two figures and said-Go. This was a mystery to me! Anyhow, I went, a friend of one of my relatives was there to greet me, who was Italian, and who was working in New York, and he was to find a place for me to spend the night because the train would be leaving the following day. So he said to me-Look, I'm sorry but all the hotels are full, why they were I don't know- it was the time- in September, the time of the World Series in New York. However, I have found a place in this hotel, where there is a Turkish bath, because in a Turkish bath there are a load of little cubicles where people rest after having taken a bath, and he said-Go there. So I went there and found this- the place where there was this hole- It was totally Spartan! Yes, Spartan, sure. Then I walked around to visit the town which was naturally fascinating, and then I slept there, everything okay, because at the end of the day I had a place to sleep, I didn't need anything else.

Così sono arrivato a New York, negli Stati Uniti e naturalmente quando il bastimento ha attraversato l'entrata del porto di New York, è passato sotto la Statua della Libertà- insomma era una cosa incredibile, un'emozione fantastica. Poi si scende- poi la cosa interessante è questa che il bastimento arriva lì al porto, si attracca lì e dopo un po' viene sul bastimento l'ufficiale d'immigrazione per verificare i documenti di tutti i passeggeri, perciò ci mettiamo lì in linea, per essere uno dopo l'altro e si aspetta, aspetta parecchio tempo finalmente viene il mio turno. Viene il mio turno e io dò i documenti ecc. E noto che l'ufficiale di immigrazione esamina quei documenti con grande attenzione e che passa molto più tempo su quello che non su nessun altro degli immigranti che erano con me. Questo mi preoccupava- pensavo forse c'e' qualche cosa che non va, però alla fine lui mi dà il documento, scrive qualcosa sul passaporto e mi dice- Vada giù. Scendo la scala per scendere sulla banchina e mi avvio verso il posto dove c'erano i bagagli per cercare di trovare il mio bagaglio. A un certo punto, sento qualcuno che corre dietro di me. Curiosità e guardo indietro ed è la stessa persona, l'ufficiale di immigrazione e lui viene da me, si ferma lì da me e mi dice- Per favore mi dia il suo passaporto. Di nuovo, preoccupazione enorme- chissà adesso forse mi fanno ritornare sul bastimento e mi riportano indietro. E lui cancella quello che aveva scritto e lo sostituisce con un altro- due cifre e dice- Vada. Per me mistero! Vabbè, vado lì, a ricevermi c'era un amico di un mio parente, che era italiano lì, che lavora a New York, e lui doveva provvedere un posto dove passare la notte perché il treno sarebbe andato il mattino successivo. Allora mi dice- Guardi, mi rincresce, ma gli alberghi sono tutti pieni, perché c'erano non so- era il periodo- settembre, il periodo di questi giochi, dice- Però ho trovato un posto in questo albergo, dove c'è un bagno turco, perché in un bagno turco ci sono un mucchio di piccole cose dove la gente si riposa dopo aver preso un bagno turco, e dice così- Vada lì'. Allora vado lì e trovo questo- il posto dove c'era questo buco- Spartano era proprio! Eh, spartano certo. Poi vado in giro per visitare la città che è naturalmente affascinante, tutto questo, e poi dormo lì- insomma, tutto bene, perché alla fine era un posto per dormire, non avevo bisogno di altro.

The Italian biologist Renato Dulbecco (1914-2012) had early success isolating a mutant of the polio virus which was used to create a life-saving vaccine. Later in his career, he initiated the Human Genome Project and was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1975 for furthering our understanding of cancer caused by viruses.

Listeners: Paola De Paoli Marchetti

Paola De Paoli Marchetti is a science journalist who graduated with an honours degree in foreign languages and literature from the University Ca’Foscari, Venice. She has been a science journalist since the 1960s and has been on the staff of the newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore since 1970. She was elected president of UGIS (Italian Association of Science Journalists) in 1984. She has been a Member of the Board of EUSJA (European Union of Science Journalists’ Associations, Strasbourg), and was its president in 1987-1988 and 1998-2000. In May 2000 she was unanimously elected president emeritus. She was a member of the National Council of Italian Journalists (1992-1998). From 2002 to 2004 she was member of the working group for scientific communication of the National Committee for Biotechnology. She has also been a consultant at the Italian Ministry of Research and Technology and editor-in-chief of the publication MRST, policy of science and technology. She has co-authored many publications in the field of scientific information, including Le biotecnologie in Italia, Le piste della ricerca and Luna vent’anni dopo.

Duration: 3 minutes, 42 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008