life is either a reproducible, almost commonplace manifestation of matter, given certain conditions, or a miracle. Too many steps are involved to allow for something in between.
Ribosomes contain RNA, messenger RNA provides the information, transfer RNAs brings the amino acids; so the protein-making machinery is an RNA machinery, completely.
The advantage of the analytical approach is that it is widely applicable, and it can provide a considerable amount of quantitative information even with a relatively poor resolving power.
My parents, of Belgian-German extraction, were Belgian nationals who had taken refuge in England during the war. They returned to Belgium in 1920, and I grew up in the cosmopolitan harbour city of Antwerp, at a time when education in the Flemish part of the country was still half French and half Flemish.
Born in England during the First World War, of Belgian parents with partly German roots, I grew up in the cosmopolitan city of Antwerp, where I had the benefit of a classical education taught in the two national languages of Belgium: French and Dutch.
Speaking as a biologist, I think women are less aggressive than men, and they play a larger role in the early education of the young and helping them overcome their genetic heirloom.
What I was concerned with was life: what are the major features that are common to all living organisms that subtly define life. So I looked at the whole problem as a chemist, as a biochemist, and as a molecular biologist.
The cost of our success is the exhaustion of natural resources, leading to energy crises, climate change, pollution, and the destruction of our habitat. If you exhaust natural resources, there will be nothing left for your children. If we continue in the same direction, humankind is headed for some frightful ordeals, if not extinction.
The possibility that lysosomes might accidentally become ruptured under certain conditions, and kill or injure their host-cells as a result, was considered right after we got our first clues to the existence of these particles.
In spite of the advances of medicine, deathly epidemics are more menacing than ever before.
Vast areas are witness to the struggles of destitute populations trying to survive under unlivable conditions.
The living world has become impoverished. Species are being lost every day. Energy and other resources are nearing exhaustion. The environment is deteriorating. Pollution is everywhere. Climate is changing. Natural balances are threatened.
When, in 1949, I decided to join the little band of early explorers who had followed Albert Claude in his pioneering expeditions, electron microscopy was still in its infancy.
Due to these various circumstances, when I entered the Catholic University of Louvain in 1934, I had already travelled in a number of European countries and spoke four languages fairly fluently. This turned out to be a valuable asset in my subsequent career as a scientist.
If you want this planet to continue being habitable for everyone that lives here, you have to limit the number of inhabitants. Hunters do it by killing off the old or sick animals in a herd, but I don't think that's a very ethical way of limiting the population.
The war broke out, and for a number of years I lived in darkness, with the memory of the lakes, the trees and the skies of Sweden, until I returned in 1946 to spend two unforgettable years in the laboratory of Hugo Theorell.
My education, according to the tradition of the Jesuit school which I attended, had been centered on the 'ancient humanities', and I was strongly attracted to the more literary branches.
Although attracted by the humanities, I had chosen medicine as a career, seduced by the image of the 'man in white' dispensing care and solace to the suffering. But science was lurking around the corner, in the form of an unpaid student assistantship in the laboratory of physiology.
Overcrowded cities are spawning increasingly lawless suburbs. Waste is accumulating in and around them, straining the capacity to deal with it.
Although separating mitochondria and microsomes might appear worlds apart from the determination of the molecular weight of macromolecules, certain concepts were common to the two operations and could be usefully transposed from the latter to the former.