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Interview with Seymour Benzer

Benzer, Seymour (2002) Interview with Seymour Benzer. [Oral History]

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Interview conducted in eleven sessions between September 1990 and February 1991 with Seymour Benzer, James G. Boswell Professor of Neuroscience in the Division of Biology. Benzer received his PhD in physics from Purdue in 1947. His interests had already turned to biophysics, after he read Erwin Schrödinger's What is Life? In this lengthy interview he recounts his peripatetic life visiting Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1948-49); Max Delbrück at Caltech (1949-51); the Pasteur Institute with André Lwoff, François Jacob, and Jacques Monod (1951-52); the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, with Francis Crick and Sydney Brenner (1957-1958); Roger Sperry's lab at Caltech (1965-67); and intermittently Woods Hole and Cold Spring Harbor--all while he was also a member first of the physics and then the biology faculty at Purdue (1945-1967). In the early 1960s, he participated for a while in the establishment of the Salk Institute. In 1967 he became a professor of biology at Caltech, meanwhile spending summers in the early 1970s at the Salk Institute; recollections of the Biology Division and of Salk during that time. He discusses the early years and flourishing of molecular biology, including recollections of such pioneers as Salvador Luria, Renato Dulbecco, Francis Crick, James Watson, Gunther Stent, and Delbrück's phage group. He discusses his own work on r mutants of bacteriophage, genetic fine structure, behavioral mutants of Drosophila, and monoclonal antibodies.

Item Type:Oral History
Keywords:biology, biophysics
Record Number:CaltechOH:OH_Benzer_S
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Benzer, Seymour. Interview by Heidi Aspaturian. Pasadena, California, September 11-February 1991. Oral History Project, California Institute of Technology Archives. Retrieved [supply date of retrieval] from the World Wide Web:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
Subjects:Subjects > Physics
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Subjects > Biology
ID Code:27
Deposited By: Oral Histories Administrator
Deposited On:21 Jul 2008
Last Modified:04 Oct 2019 15:23

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