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Oral History
Interview with David Baltimore by Sara Lippincott

Resource available online.

ABSTRACT: Interview in three sessions, October-November 2009, with David Baltimore, Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology and president emeritus of Caltech (1997-2006).
He recalls his childhood and early education in Great Neck, NY, his aptitude for science, and a summer at the Jackson Laboratory in Maine (1955), which confirmed his vocation. He discusses interest in molecular biology at Swarthmore (B.A. 1960); 1959 summer at Cold Spring Harbor with G. Streisinger; meeting S. Luria and C. Levinthal; graduate work at MIT and Rockefeller (PhD 1964); 1961 summer at Albert Einstein College of Medicine; postdoc at MIT with J. Darnell and Einstein with J. Hurwitz. Recalls his discovery of polio polymerase and demonstration that RNA chains initiate with a triphosphate.
In 1965 he is invited to join Salk Institute by R. Dulbecco; returns to MIT as associate professor in 1968. Recalls his 1970 discovery of reverse transcriptase and copublication with H. Temin; 1975 Asilomar conference on recombinant DNA; 1975 Nobel Prize with Temin and Dulbecco; founding of Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; National Academy of Sciences committee on national strategy for AIDS. Comments briefly on investigation of T. Imanishi-Kari for fraud and his return to MIT from Rockefeller University in 1994.
He discusses vetting process for Caltech presidency, his 1998 inauguration, and highlights of his presidency, including purchase of St. Luke's Medical Center, $1.4 billion capital campaign, and building Broad Center for the Biological Sciences. Comments on Caltech architecture, including Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics; receiving National Medal of Science in 2000; L. Van Parijs dismissal from MIT and prior work in Baltimore's lab; and the prospects for human enhancement and understanding of consciousness.

ID: 2010-00004
Baltimore, David (Administrator, Biologist)

Creation Oct. 13, 2009 through Nov. 25, 2009

MEDIUM: Paper; FORMAT: Book; LENGTH: 106 pages; QUANTITY: 1

Topics: Administration

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