Oral history of British science

Perutz, Max (Part 9 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 9: MP talks more about Ewald who later went to Belfast and the U.S.A., remained friends for life. MP wrote his thesis and talks about his facility to write which he developed while writing letters home and to friends.Letters home are lost but letters to friend in England survived. In May 1940 a policeman came to te door and arrested him as enemy alien. Aliens were classified into A(Nazis), B(unusual) and C(genuine refugees) and he was in category C. MP talks about his arrest and mentions his article about it all in the New Yorker in August 85. His internment is described in his books in chapter 'Enemy Alien'. He was first in Bury St.Edmunds, then in Liverpool and later Cabada. He mentions some of his experiences in the Canadian camp, some of the people with him there, e.g. Bondy - mathematician, later master of Churchill College, Cambridge, and Fuchs - the atom spy. MP organised a 'Camp University' to keep up morale. Among others Fuchs gave a series of lectures on theoretical physics which were the best MP ever heard. Bondy was brilliant lecturer, always without notes. At the Isle of Man he shared a room with two cell physiologists, also an interesting time. Father was later also interned on Isle of Man.

  • 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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