Oral history of British science

Klug, Aaron (Part 5 of 31). National Life Stories Collection: General

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  • Subjects

    Biophysics; Chemistry

  • Recording date

    2002-10-29, 2002-11-03, 2002-11-20, 2002-11-27

  • Recording locations

    MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge

  • Interviewees

    Klug, Aaron, 1926-, (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Thompson, Katherine (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    AK talks about his religion which to him is more a matter of identity. But when he had children went regularly to synagogue - for him it is a matter of "heritage" - explains. They celebrate Chanukah - importance of tradition. Talk about impact of World War 2 in South Africa - only dangers were Japanese submarines. The Durban Jewish Club entertained British Jewish servicemen. Explains racial problems, e.g. Chinese who were allies and the local difficulty to fit them in. AK is a liberal, had arguments at University which later caused him difficulties to get USA visa as he was regarded as 'communist'. He was South African citizen until 1961 when S.A. left the Commonwealth. Decided to become British Citizen. In 1957 he had to be cleared to get visa for USA. Discusses those difficulties and his attitude to USA. At University all cadavers were from black people - more about black people at University and on laws governing blacks in general and about relations between English and Afrikaans. Segregation of various coloured workers and changes over the years. Dropping of atom bomb on Japan ended the war and he didn't have to join the Army. About the move to Cape Town, explains why he chose physics and about his scholarship. AK now talks about his teacher, R. W. James - ex Manchester, was colleague of Bragg. Describes how he lived in Cape Town, lodging in house belonging to parents of future wife. Enjoyed Cape Town, went to all different lectures, high standards. Owes a lot to James.

  • Description

    Nobel Prize-winning chemist Aaron Klug in conversation about his life and work. Klug is most famous for his research into crystallographic electron microscopy.

  • Related links

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

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