Recorded: 04 Jun 2001
Yeah. They were wonderful. I guess you still have them. I went back to one ten or fifteen years ago. I guess they have the same style. You get people away from the city and that’s a big factor. We had pretty primitive conditions there. We had no air conditioning. It was awful. Now it’s probably nice. The beds were like boards. The food was alright. There were a lot of nice people there during the summer. The Mirskys were very nice. You know about [Alfred] Mirsky? He was a very thoughtful person and wonderful to talk to. But he alienated a lot of people, like Delbrück, because [of] his science, I’ve forgotten exactly how it was – he was hoping that protein synthesis was going on. And so they held it against him. Personally, I think he was wonderful.
[Renato Dulbecco] and Delbrück were interacting. I don’t remember much about him; he was just fun to talk to. One time he said, “Do you know that the high tides in the Long Island Sound are due to the fact that the body [of water is] resonating with the moon?” There is a certain size of a body [of water] that will start resonating so [that] the tides become very big. I thought that was amazing. I never asked anyone else if this was really correct information because I don’t think the Sound could be as big as the moon. It couldn’t be. The moon must be equal to what, Texas in size or bigger?
[I met him] at Cold Spring Harbor. I never met him at anywhere else. When you got a chance, everyone one was interacting. We were interacting on the same level, which was pretty unusual.
They were [all] pretty young. [Max] Delbrück was pretty young. He could not be more than five years older than I was, maybe ten years older.
Edward B. Lewis (1918-2004) was a renowned leader in genetics and Drosophila development research. He received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1942. He served as captain of the United States Army Air Force from 1942-1945 as a meteorologist and an oceanographer in the Pacific Theatre. In 1946, he joined the Caltech faculty and was appointed Professor of Biology in 1956, earning a Thomas Hunt Morgan Professorship in 1966. In 1995, Lewis won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development” along with Christiane Nusslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus. Lewis is also a recipient of the Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal (1983), the Gairdner Foundation International award (1987), the Wolf Foundation prize in medicine (1989), the Rosenstiel award (1990) and the National Medal of Science (1990).