Michael Ashburner, 2008-05-08
Scope and Contents
The Oral History Collection contains interviews conducted with 200 scientists within the fields of molecular biology, genetics, and the life sciences between 1990 and 2018. The interviewees provide first-hand accounts of their experiences in the fields of modern biology, such as neuroscience, cancer, genetics, plant genetics, genomics, biotechnology and others, from the 1940s through the 2000s. The collection contains audio and video recordings, as well as transcripts of interviews.
The interviews offer a glimpse into the life of prominent scientists. The interviews discuss scientists' early school days and beginning interests in science to what or who made them choose to go into science. They also include reminiscences about their research and major discoveries, experiences of women in science, the character and life of leading scientists like Barbara McClintock and James D. Watson, the history of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the nature of the double-helix discovery, the ethics of the Human Genome Project and biotechnology.
Many scientists interviewed for this project have either carried out their research or attended scientific meetings at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Their recollections document not only the history of molecular biology and genetics the but also the laboratory's role in this history. The collection comprises of Hi8 8mm tapes; mini-DV; DVCAM and VHS audio cassette tapes. Most of the interviews from this collection have been transcribed. Interviews which have been digitized can be found at the Oral History Collection page.
The collection is organized into two series: Talking Science Interviews and Presentations. Talking Science Interviews consist of individual scientists, while the Presentations series include clips of oral history interviews that were used for a specific meeting or event.
- Talking Science Interviews, 1990-2017
- Presentations, 2016-2019
- Creation: 2008-05-08
Conditions Governing Access
Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online: https://library.cshl.edu/oralhistory/. Select tapes have been digitized thanks to support from CLIR Recordings at Risk Grant awarded in 2021, these tapes are available for research online via our Oral History Website and in person at CSHL Archives. Please contact CSHL Archives email@example.com with any questions regarding availability.
Biographical / Historical
Michael Ashburner was born on May 23, 1942, in Brighton, Sussex, England, and was educated at Cambridge. He received his B.A. (1964), M.A. (1968), Ph.D. (1968) and Sc.D. (1978) from the University of Cambridge, where he is currently Emeritus Professor of Biology in the Department of Genetics and a Professional Fellow of Churchill College. He was formerly the joint head of the European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). Ashburner was also co-founder of "Flybase", the primary online database for Drosophila genetics and molecular biology, the "Gene Ontology Consortium", an effort to coordinate biological databases through a defined taxonomy of gene function, and the Crete Meetings, a bi-annual event focusing on the developmental and molecular biology of Drosophila melanogaster. Among many honors, he is the recipient of the G.J. Mendel Medal (Czech Republic 1998) and the George W. Beadle Medal (Genetics Society of America 1999).
1 Cassettes (Camcorder footage) : MiniDV - CSHL1012
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English