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My sad story of Harold Daitz


Edward Roux
Sydney Brenner Scientist
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Well, Eddie I first came across as a scientist, but later I came across as a man and the author of I think the most moving book about South Africa, called "Time Longer Than Rope". Because, Eddie of course was a left-wing activist all his life and his history, which I thought was tragic then, is even more tragic considering what has become of the world. Because Eddie was a communist, an early communist, dumped by the Komintern Agreement at the time, so he was branded as a Trotskyite, worked with the African movement as an independent until the time after the war, when he was still as great, and wrote this famous book about the history of African political movements and sort of gave me the- I mean I think it was really on knowing more about him and what he, and what he stood for, that led me to my reluctance to join any organisation and I never was a member of any organisation in the sense that people were members of political parties or political movements, because I've always felt you compromise if you join an organisation. And even now, when people ask me to sign petitions, I'm very reluctant because I just want to know who the other people in here and are they people I'd want to be associated with and I think that- so Eddie was, I think, a fantastic person as a scientist and as a man, and "Time Longer Than Rope" should be read by everybody, especially now, especially now.

South African Sydney Brenner (1927-2019) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2002. His joint discovery of messenger RNA, and, in more recent years, his development of gene cloning, sequencing and manipulation techniques along with his work for the Human Genome Project have led to his standing as a pioneer in the field of genetics and molecular biology.

Listeners: Lewis Wolpert

Lewis Wolpert is Professor of Biology as Applied to Medicine in the Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology of University College, London. His research interests are in the mechanisms involved in the development of the embryo. He was originally trained as a civil engineer in South Africa but changed to research in cell biology at King's College, London in 1955. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1980 and awarded the CBE in 1990. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999. He has presented science on both radio and TV and for five years was Chairman of the Committee for the Public Understanding of Science.



Listen to Lewis Wolpert at Web of Stories



Tags: Time Longer than Rope, Comintern, Edward Roux

Duration: 2 minutes, 11 seconds

Date story recorded: April-May 1994

Date story went live: 24 January 2008