Waclaw Szybalski on CSHL Symposia: Then and Now
  Waclaw Szybalski     Biography    
Recorded: 11 May 2001

Technical things, that there were so few lectures and everybody had time, two hours or an hour and a half, tops so they could talk. And it lasted for two weeks, so instead of present four or five days, so that’s technical difference, which changes things very much because there was just time for discussion, there was no rush, nothing. And at the same time there were, parallel, what they called the “Big Symposium.” Then the phage meeting was totally different, namely, we all came to the room, and Max Delbrück says, “Well, who[ever] is planning to talk just put the names and minutes on the blackboard.”

I was on the first phage meeting and the second, yeah, and all this so. We were writing our name and said five minutes, seven minutes, three minutes, well… I remember once, one student said twenty-five minutes, everybody, oh, he doesn’t know (laughter)…its nonsense. But since you could write what you want, it was out of line, but anyway it was Meselson. And then Delbrück was taking all that rearranging…putting program out of that: how long to talk, whom, when, etc. and the abstracts were published after the meeting. We were leaving what it is our notes and etc., and it was published called Phage Information Service and then was the distributed a month later, so the abstracts were written after the meeting, not before. So they were partially influenced by what people heard. Sometimes they do not reflect what they said, it reflects what they thought they should have said after.

Waclaw Szybalski is an authority on molecular biology, genetics and microbiology. He earned his Ph.D. at the Gdansk Institute of Technology in Poland and joined the University of Wisconsin in the mid-1950s where he is now Professor Emeritus of Oncology in the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research.

Szybalski is known for the many significant contributions he has made throughout his career, beginning with his studies on mutagenesis and continuing through his contributions to genomics. He was among the first to formulate the concept of multi-drug antibiotic therapy.

Szybalski has also participated in the Human Genome Project.

Szybalski is the founder and head of many editorial boards including that of the journal Gene.

A long-time meeting and course participant at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Szybalski was a friend and contemporary of many pioneers in the field of genetics, including Alfred Hershey, Martha Chase, Max Delbrück, and Barbara McClintock.