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Conflict in the classroom


A nightingale’s song
John Bonner Scientist
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Around that time we were sent to a boarding school in Switzerland in the French part of Switzerland, not too far out of Geneva. And I just became enthralled by everything I could see in the little woods right next to the school, and it was just… I mean, it just absolutely trapped me. And my mother gave me her little binoculars that she used to take to the races. And that was bliss - everything was wonderful. And I tell you the thing I still remember so vividly. My bedroom was on the side of the building where there was a small wood, and so in the spring, I'd open the window wide. And every period I was going to sleep, I could hear a nightingale. And I've often wondered whether or not that was the thing that planted it in me because it was just so incredibly beautiful. And it's quite unbelievable, in a way.

John Tyler Bonner (born in 1920) is an emeritus professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. He is a pioneer in the use of cellular slime molds to understand evolution and development and is one of the world's leading experts on cellular slime molds. He says that his prime interests are in evolution and development and that he uses the cellular slime molds as a tool to seek an understanding of those twin disciplines. He has written several books on developmental biology and evolution, many scientific papers, and has produced a number of works in biology. He has led the way in making Dictyostelium discoideum a model organism central to examining some of the major questions in experimental biology.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Switzerland

Duration: 1 minute, 23 seconds

Date story recorded: February 2016

Date story went live: 14 September 2016