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Joseph Gillman


My sad story of Harold Daitz
Sydney Brenner Scientist
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Harold Daitz was a great influence on my life and in fact I found someone who had an understanding- this was someone who really taught me about the importance of asking questions in science and I spent hours, and this also came my love of just sitting around in the lab till all hours of the night, just talking. And of course it's something that my mother never understood, don't think my wife has still understood saying well, you know- why have you come home at four o'clock in the morning? And the thing is, well, you can't say- well we got talking, you know, and it just went on. And so, this is just something that was important. He went to England about a year before I did, he went to Oxford - Oxford I'll come back to that in a moment - and of course, when I came to England, and I came to Oxford, I went straight to his flat to see him to be greeted by his wife, that's Edna Rutowitz as she was, Edna O'Shaughnessy as she is now and to be told that he had died of a heart attack, the week before- I hadn't known. So, that I thought was- because one had all sorts of, you know, ideas about how great it would be to be doing science together. So he was in a way the first person you really spoke science to, was he? He was the first person who spoke science, he was interested in neuroanatomy. Of course neuroanatomy and neurobiology are of course very interesting and very old interests of mine, and because of the influence of this whole school of people doing neuroanatomy in Johannesburg.

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: Oxford University, UK, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Harold Daitz

Duration: 2 minutes, 5 seconds

Date story recorded: April-May 1994

Date story went live: 24 January 2008