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Science as AutobiographyThe Troubled Life of Niels Jern$
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Thomas Soderqvist

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300094411

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300094411.001.0001

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“My Hopes and Failures Are Within Myself”

“My Hopes and Failures Are Within Myself”

(p.193) 15 “My Hopes and Failures Are Within Myself”
Science as Autobiography

Thomas Söderqvist

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on Niels Jerne's visit to California. Adda was accompanying him, but the children, now aged twelve and eighteen, would remain in Denmark, and the apartment on Amaliegade would be rented out. His many books and Tjek's paintings made the apartment Jerne's umbilical cord to Denmark and a reflection of his life history:“Don't let it catch fire,” he allegedly said when leaving, “because if it catches fire I don't come back—this is my life.” He had looked forward to discussing his selection theory with Max Delbruck during the transatlantic crossing, but nothing came of it. Delbruck is supposed to have defended himself by saying that he could not discuss immunology because he didn't know anything about the subject, at which point Jerne began to ask himself why Delbruck wanted him in California at all.

Keywords:   life history, California, Adda, Niels Jerne, selection theory, Max Delbruck, immunology

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