The media at Asilomar, Sydney Brenner
Interviewee: Sydney Brenner. Sydney Brenner talks about his suggestion that the Press switch off their tape recorders at Asilomar. (DNAi Location: Manipulation > Revolution > Putting it together > Sydney Brenner on the Press at Asilomar)
Everybody was worried about a cover-up, you see the, Watergate's echoes were so strong. Very few Europeans understood that, but they were so strong, the idea of self-service and cover-up were what is, you know, what are the scientists trying to conceal, sort of thing. So I think that that was, I remember the very first day, all the Press were there, and there was a motion that there was an official tape-recording, and there was a motion that people might wish to speak of free accord. And so they agreed they would switch off the tape, the official tape, if everything, so the question is, would the Press have to switch off their tapes as well. And there was a vote on this and I was the only one who voted for the Press switching off the tape.
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Asilomar meeting. February 1975. (L to R) Maxine Singer, Norton Zinder, Sydney Brenner, Paul Berg.
James Watson (L) and Sydney Brenner (R) at the Asilomar meeting, 1975.
Former New York Times journalist Victor McElheny remembers the fears of young scientists.
"Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA Molecules" published in Science on June 6, 1975.
Former science journalist Victor McElheny talks about why the Asilomar conference is not a good model for the interaction of science and society.
Former science journalist Victor McElheny talks about the impossible task of reconciling science and society in a week.
James Watson recollects his feelings about the Asilomar meeting.
More than 25 years after the historic meeting, James Watson looks back.
RNA is an intermediary between DNA and protein.
Concerned lawyer Alexander Capron talks about what was learned at Asilomar.