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The Joshua Lederberg Papers

Interview with Joshua Lederberg [Early influences] transcript of audio
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Running Time:
2 minutes, 3 seconds
1996-03-22 (March 22, 1996)
Lederberg, Joshua
Hyde, Barbara
Joshua Lederberg interview. VHS Tape 1. Beta SP timecodes 01:02:20:00 - 01:10:23:00
Reproduced with permission of the American Society for Microbiology.
Exhibit Category:
Biographical Information
Lederberg Grouping: No Epoch
Metadata Record [Transcript of Lederberg oral history videotaped by Barbara Hyde] (March 22, 1996) pdf (4,472,080 Bytes) ocr (121,340 Bytes)
Unique Identifier:
Accession Number:
Document Type:
Video recordings
Series: Audio-Visual
Folder: Videotapes
JOSHUA LEDERBERG: Nothing pushed me further into a scientific career. It is very hard for me to convey this but for as far back as I can remember that was a very deep-seated drive. The only evidence I have of on that score was my first composition, which the very fact that my mother saved it will say something but, in second grade -- what do you want to be when you grow up? -- I want to be a scientist like Einstein and discover theories and mathematics. So I can document at least that part of it. [Chuckle.] It's a mystery where that came from and exactly what drove it. What nurtured it were my teachers at school, the library system in particular -- I learned far more from the books I read than I did in classes, and a somewhat ambiguous relationship with my father, but in the end one that was very encouraging. He was disappointed that I in some sense repudiated his rabbinical approach to the meaning of life. But in the end it was not a repudiation. We came to a creative compromise that the Lord has many mansions and science is one of them. And so his pride in me and my accomplishment even though it was not in the immediate direction of his own calling was a positive reinforcement. But I had no material content from that. The only books at home that would have had any bearing on this kind of learning and there were a dictionary and an encyclopedia and I read them from cover to cover. And so when I said "encyclopedic interests", I had that manifestation. [Chuckle.]
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