Alfred Tissières on Jacques-Monod-Paris
  Alfred Tissières     Biography    
Recorded: 04 Jun 2001

Because after that I moved to Paris, I got another leave of absence. I moved to Paris and I was in the group of Monod, officially. I liked Monod very much, I thought he was a tremendous individual, even more so because Monod liked claming. I have to tell you something. One day Monod told me, “We go to Fontainebleau tomorrow.” You might not understand this but I will tell you. At Fontainebleau there are lots of rocks, and those rocks are rather small—smaller than this room I think. Monod took me along in his car and we went there and he had told me he was to meet with some of his claming friends. It was interesting because Monod had a group of friends who were there claming, and very different people than anything you could have thought they could be talking to Monod. Monod liked to have a very wide audience and of course when he came there and so on he knew everybody and people admired him. Then Monod told me, “Come, and we will do some climbing.” I didn't have any training for that occasion, so he said, “Why don't you go up?” I tried to go up there and I could never do it, he was bothered at the same time he was very pleased.

Alfred Tissières was a biologist, biochemist and geneticist. He received his Ph.D. from Cambridge for his work at the Molteno Institute and subsequently did postdoctoral work on respiratory enzymes at Caltech under Max Delbruck.

Soon after returning to Cambridge, Watson suggested he come to Harvard to work on microsomal particles in E. coli.

At Harvard, Tissières and Jim discovered that ribosomes were made of two unequal pieces, each containing protein and RNA. Tissieres began a professorship at the University of Geneva where his laboratory has become prominent in the field of ribosome research.

Alfred first attended a symposium at Cold Spring Harbor in 1961 and when Jim Watson became director, Tissières would regularly visit with his family during the summer.