Recorded: 23 Jun 2000
And I was very proud when this was finally published, and I completed another work later on, looking into the relevance of an idea that Max had learned from Niels Bohr, and studied the relevance of the idea of complementarity in the history of science. And with this I became the professor of the history of science at the University of Konstanz, which is in wandui. So Max changed my life completely, first he converted me from a physicist to a biologist, converted me from a non tennis player to a tennis player, converted me from a European to an American, and then he converted me from a scientist to a science historian, and actually while I was writing this book, I realized that I like to write, so I’m writing books now, this is my favorite way to spend this day, except of course when I’m given an interview looking at you. Well, Max had a way of influencing people, I mean that could be the negative way, he could grab people and get them disgusted, or they would give up certain projects, he would tell them this is very foolish what your doing, I mean he was not in a balanced mood, he would either help you to go through a very difficult time, or warn you not to do it. So he could act in both ways, but he was never giving you an easy time. He tried to see how good you were, he checked on the quality, and you had to fight against him, your always offered a challenge, this is what he was doing, he liked to challenge people and to see what their attitude was, and when he knew that, not by making it easy for them, by making it hard for them, then all the sudden turned around and supported them. He took people and he changed them, that’s probably what he liked, and could do, and I think in most cases people are very happy with what he did with them.
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).