Ernst Peter Fischer on Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory: Social Atmosphere (or combine)
  Ernst Peter Fischer     Biography    
Recorded: 23 Jun 2000

It was always a very captivating atmosphere, Max arranged meetings in between. Max and Manny had a lot of visitors and we could come to join when they had dinner. And Max liked another thing very much which I eventually hated—started to hate—he loved, he had two small children at this time. And he loved puppet shows. And the puppet show consisted of his daughter and son, they’re playing one role in the puppet show and he, Max, playing a big professor, I mean, so we had to set out a professor and then we made a spontaneous plot. And then Max always needed somebody that would either seduce his daughter or cheat on the professor and he always picked me. So, I had a role.

Shortly before the play started I tried to hide somewhere in the background, just hoping for some wine and always, he said, “Peter,” I had to get a puppet on my finger and so I was asked to seduce his daughter, I mean in the play. The professor would then teach us what to do and he would make up some plot. He just loved this. I don’t know why he did this but he just loved them.

And he loved all kinds of sports. I mean, Cold Spring Harbor at this time had a place where you could play volleyball. I mean, if—there was also a—he never thought of playing volleyball, but when he saw people playing volleyball he just joined them. And then when he saw you seeing him play volleyball, he forced you to join him. So that was Max.

For himself, he was always spontaneous, but then if he did something he’d ask other people to come in and join in too.

Ernst Peter Fischer, Professor of the History of Science at the University of Constance since 1994. He studied mathematics and physics in Cologne and biology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He earned Ph.D. in biology and qualified as a professor in the history of science.

He has published biographies of Max Delbrück, Niels Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli and James D. Watson and received several awards for his scientific publications. Fischer is an author of such books as "Die andere Bildung", "Selling science - The history of Boehringer Mannheim" and "Das Genom" - an introduction into modern genome research.

He has been honoured with the Heinrich-Bechold-Medaille (1980), Preis der wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft Freiburg (1981); Lorenz-Oken-Medaille (2002), Treviranus-Medaille (2003) and Eduard-Rhein-Kulturpreis (2003).