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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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“Immunology Is for Me Becoming a Mostly Philosophical Subject”

“Immunology Is for Me Becoming a Mostly Philosophical Subject”

(p.278) 21 “Immunology Is for Me Becoming a Mostly Philosophical Subject”
Science as Autobiography

Thomas Söderqvist

Yale University Press

This chapter focuses on the time of Niels Jerne's retirement, after more than a decade as director of the Basel Institute. Roche asked Fritz Melchers, who had been at the institute almost since its start, to take over the post. Jerne was sixty-eight years old, and despite two or three packs of cigarettes a day and ever increasing alcohol consumption, he was still in full vigor. For about a year, he functioned as conseiller general of the Pasteur Institute's new Department of Immunology, but he was not comfortable there. Instead he moved permanently to his summer residence in Languedoc with his young wife, Alexandra, who for many years had lived alone for long periods in Chateau de Bellevue. In France, he had more time to read, as usual on the most diverse subjects—everything from Marshall Berman's Marxist critique of modernity, All That Is Solid Melts into Air, to Nicolas Schoffer's La theorie des miroirs, a book that reinforced his vision of the immune system as an endless hall of mirrors.

Keywords:   conseiller general, Niels Jerne, retirement, Basel Institute, Roche, Fritz Melchers, Pasteur Institute, Department of Immunology, Chateau de Bellevue

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