Oral history of British science

Perutz, Max (Part 3 of 19). National Life Stories Collection: General

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  • Subjects

    Molecular Biology

  • Recording date

    2001-06-30, 2001-08-18, 2001-09-15, 2001-10-06, 2001-10-27, 2001-11-29, 2001-12-08

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Cambridge, UK

  • Interviewees

    Perutz, Max, 1914-2001 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Thompson, Katherine, (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 3: MP talks about the teaching at the University - Mentions Ernst Spit(??) who was head of chemistry. More about the teaching system and experimental work. There were no foreign chemistry books.. He was first to pass 'doctorandum', final exam 'Rigorosum'. He took private coaching in mathematics, and evening classes in Czech. The holidays were spent in the countryside with climbing and books. He also visited the family factories. MP talks about one of the letters he wrote to his English girlfriend - while studying chemistry - " the loss to mankind would be unthinkable if I failed to win the Nobel Prize" - He stayed in touch with this girlfriend and she was a great help when he came to England as student in 1936. MP explains how - through a chance meeting at a Faraday meeting with the Head of Physical Chemistry - he was offered a place as a student in the crystallography department with Prof. Bernal in Cambridge. His parents were evntualy persuaded to let him go and his father sent £500 to England for his keep for 2 years.

  • Description

    Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist and author Max Perutz is interviewed about his life and work. Mentor to James Watson, co-discoverer of DNA, Perutz died before this interview could be completed.

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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