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The Joshua Lederberg Papers

Interview with Joshua Lederberg [An uplifting talk] transcript of audio
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Running Time:
1 minute, 32 seconds
1996-03-22 (March 22, 1996)
Lederberg, Joshua
Hyde, Barbara
Joshua Lederberg interview. VHS Tape 2. Beta SP timecodes 05:02:52:00 - 05:04:24:00
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: Scientists have to be schizoid in some way: they have to be able to sustain some contradictions in their personality, in the way they view things. I've already mentioned one of them -- in order to get, you have to give away. You have to have a very clear sense. You want to be competitive and generous at the same time. You have to put yourself out as an individual. Not only to satisfy your own ego but in order to have the resources and capability of doing for the scientific work and yet you recognize your part of a community.
At an even deeper level and at a little closer to the cognitive realm, the effect of scientists, the really creative one, is the person who one minute can be fantasizing with no restraints, imagining all kinds of things -- blue sky, and the next can be his or her own harshest self-critic in saying, "Look, this is what reality is really like: ABCD and G are not going to work, well maybe F survived and that's worth considering." But to be able to have a lot of fluency in scanning a wide range of fantastic notions -- things that never been done before which probably aren't going to work and give them a little bit of attention and then have a critical regard for how to discard them -- if there's any essential ingredient to scientific creativity, I think that's where it would be.
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