Recorded: 03 Jul 2003
I heard a lovely story about Arthur from, I think from Ray Gesteland. I was at a meeting at the Santiago Summer Symposium which is held every winter in Santiago, Chile. I went about five or six years ago. Ray and Arthur before the meeting—certainly with Ray’s wife, I think Arthur’s wife had died by then— they’d been on a tour down in Tierra del Fuego. Ray said it was amazing how without anyone saying anything the whole of the captain’s table knew within the first hour that Arthur had a Nobel Prize.
He let them know. Maybe David Streisinger, maybe David Streisinger was on that trip as well, I can’t remember now. After that meeting I went up to the Altiplano in the north of Chile with another very, very great geneticist, Bioto Slemensky who is now very, very old. I met Ray and David and their wives up in this small, small hotel in Puerta at 4.5 thousand meters in the Altiplano.
Michael Ashburner, a leader in Drosophila Genetics and bioinformatics, received his B.A. (1964), M.A. (1968), Ph.D. (1968) and Sc.D. (1978) from the University of Cambridge, where he is currently professor of Biology in the Department of Genetics and a Professional Fellow of Churchill College.
He has been the joint head of European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI), of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and was co-founder of Flybase, the primary online database for Drosophila genetics and molecular biology, the Gene Ontology Consortium, an effort to coordinate biological databases through a defined taxonomy of gene function, and the Crete Meetings, a bi-annual event focusing on the developmental and molecular biology of Drosophila melanogaster.
Among many honors, he is the recipient of the G.J. Mendel Medal (Czech Republic 1998) and the George W. Beadle Medal (Genetics Society of America 1999).