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Origins and first school
Renato Dulbecco Scientist
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Io sono nato a Catanzaro e la ragione per cui sono nato a Catanzaro e che mio padre era ingegnere del Genio Civile ed era stato inviato- perché lui è di Imperia, di Porto Maurizio, Liguria- ed era stato inviato a lavorare in Calabria durante la ricostruzione del terremoto che era avvenuto parecchi anni prima. E siccome mio padre era uno specialista delle costruzioni in cemento armato, allora quello era necessario perché volevano costruire delle case, delle strutture che fossero permanenti, anche per un nuovo terremoto, capisci? Certamente Infatti lui si è sposato in Calabria. Mia madre era di Tropea, che è una bella cittadina proprio sul mare, molto frequentata dai turisti. E poi perciò sono nato lì a Catanzaro, perché Catanzaro era il capoluogo della provincia e mio padre aveva lì il suo ufficio, insomma. Però non ci sono stato tanto lì, perché dopo un anno, io sono del '14, per cui dopo un anno è scoppiata la prima guerra mondiale e mio padre è stato mandato a Torino a lavorare in una fabbrica di proiettili. Così ci siamo spostati a Torino e perciò la mia infanzia è venuta su a Torino, però non ricordo molto di quello. Mi ricordo solo, guardando dalla finestra, c'era un negozio di fronte nella strada e continuamente c'erano delle code per andare a comprare- sai tutto era, come si dice, misurato Razionato Razionato, appunto così. E perciò questi sono i miei ricordi di Torino. Da lì siamo andati a Cuneo, perché mio padre si era trasferito, ma per breve tempo e poi da lì in Riviera, a Porto Maurizio, perché lì c'era anche il Genio Civile a Porto Maurizio. Per cui io sono cresciuto a Porto Maurizio e quello che ricordo, insomma fondamentalmente, della mia infanzia e giovinezza è Porto Maurizio. A Porto Maurizio andavo a scuola, appunto, come dicevo, mi hanno messo in terza e poi finite le scuole elementari sono andato al ginnasio. Il ginnasio era a Oneglia. Eh sì Oneglia e Porto Maurizio adesso sono tutte una città di Imperia, ma a quell'epoca erano separate. Allora c'era Oneglia e Porto Maurizio? Sì. E poi da Oneglia a Porto Maurizio ci saranno stati circa due chilometri, per cui per andare alla scuola lì, dovevo prendere un mezzo di trasporto. Da principio, mi ricordo che c'erano delle cose a cavalli Eh sì, i tram a cavalli si chiamavano I tram a cavalli e a me piaceva moltissimo perché cercavo sempre di mettermi davanti per vedere, guardare i cavalli come si comportavano tutti insieme. E questo insomma, tutto bene. Il ginnasio senza nessun particolare fenomeno, ecc. Poi naturalmente hanno cambiato, dai cavalli si è passati all'autobus e poi dopo hanno persino costruito una tramvia, per cui alla fine poi il tram era la cosa più conveniente. Forse il tram era meno suggestivo dei cavalli Meno suggestivo, sì.
I was born in Catanzaro, and I was born there because my father was an engineer for the government civil engineering group and was sent- because he was from Imperia, from Porto Maurizio, Liguria- and he was sent to work in Calabria during the rebuilding work after the earthquake that had taken place a few years earlier. And as my father was specialised in building with reinforced concrete, then this was necessary because they wanted to build houses, permanent structures, to resist a new earthquake- you see. Of course. In fact, he got married in Calabria. My mother was from Tropea, which is a beautiful little tourist town right on the sea. And so I was born there in Catanzaro, because Catanzaro was the capital of the province and my father had his office there. However, I wasn't there long, because after a year, in 1914, the first world war broke out and my father was sent to Turin to work in a missiles factory. So we were moved to Turin and thus I spent my childhood in Turin, but I don't remember much of this. My only memory, is of looking out the window at the shop across the street, where there always people queuing up to buy things, you know, what with everything being measured out. Rationed Rationed, precisely. And so these are my memories of Turin. From there we went to Cuneo, because my father was transferred, but only for a short time and then from there to Riviera, in Porto Maurizio, because there was also a government civil engineering group there in Porto Maurizio. And so I grew up in Porto Maurizio and what I remember on the whole about my childhood and youth is Porto Maurizio. I went to school in Porto Maurizio, just as I was saying before, I went in at third form and then once I had finished primary school I went to junior school in Oneglia. Oh yes Oneglia and Porto Maurizio have now been fused into one town- Imperia, but at that time they were two separate towns. So there was Oneglia and Porto Maurizio? Yes. So there were two kilometres from Oneglia to Porto Maurizio so to get to school I had to take a means of transport. At the beginning, I remember that this was horse- drawn. Oh yes, they were called horse- drawn trams. Horse-drawn trams. Yes, I liked them a lot and I always used to try to sit at the front to see, to watch how the horses behaved. All this was fine. Nothing particularly amazing happened at junior school. Then of course horse-drawn trams changed to buses and then a tramway was built, so in the end the tram was the most convenient. Perhaps the tram was less charming than horses. Yes, less charming.

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.

Tags: Cantanzaro, Porto Maurizio, Imperia, Calabria, Tropeza, Turin, Riviera, Oneglia

Duration: 3 minutes, 40 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008