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Ambitious ideas


Chairman of Salk
Renato Dulbecco Scientist
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So precisely then, there were, after almost five years, the board of directors, in agreement with the faculty, they found a new temporary chairman, but this didn't work out. After six months he had also left, then I... then after he left, so did another two temporary chairmen and in the end, I came to my senses and I took on the job and I've been there for six years already. I enjoy it very much, things run smoothly and I am completely free.

[Q] But I know that going to Salk even now, if you go and ask a lady, she will show you from the inner courtyard that there is... from that patio there, she will say, 'That is Prof. Dulbecco's window. He's not here, but he's always here'. That's what they say.

So when I went to be Chairman, I abandoned research because I thought that I couldn't do two things at once and what needed to be done for the institute was very important, so I dedicated myself entirely to the work there.

Appunto poi, ci sono stati, dopo quasi cinque anni, il consiglio di amministrazione, d'accordo con la facoltà, hanno trovato un nuovo presidente temporaneo. Però questo non andava bene, dopo sei mesi se ne è andato anche lui, allora io... poi dopo ne son venuti altri due temporanei che poi, alla fine, sono arrivati al buon senso e hanno preso questo che adesso è lì e perciò questo è stato lì già da sei anni. Questo mi fa molto piacere, che le cose vadano regolarmente, che io sia libero completamente.

[Q] Ma io so che andando al Salk anche adesso, se tu vai e chiedi a una signora, ti fa vedere dal cortile interno che c'è da quel patio che c'è, dice, 'Quella è la finestra dello studio del Prof. Dulbecco. Lui non è qui, ma è sempre qui'. Così dicono.

Perciò, quando sono andato a fare il presidente, ho abbandonato la ricerca, perché pensavo insomma io non posso fare due cose bene nello stesso tempo e quello che si doveva fare per l'istituto era molto importante, perciò mi sono dedicato interamente a quel lavoro lì.

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: Salk Institute

Duration: 1 minute, 34 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008