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Chapter 7 : Remembrance of Things Past
In this chapter the author talks about Jacques Monod and provides a wide range of personal memoirs: the reactions, experiences, and subjective impressions of his friends and colleagues, compiled as a historical record of how Jacques appeared to those who knew him well. There are a few who, through ignorance or envy, have regarded Jacques mainly as a conceited and arrogant egoist. There are others, dazzled by his brilliance and charm, who could see nothing but genius and virtue. It was mainly during 1952–1953, in close association with Jacques at the Pasteur Institute, that the author was able to look behind the scenes and become involved in some of the scientific problems of enzyme induction as they were being studied in Jacques’ group in the early days before the Great Enlightenment. Jacques had worked almost exclusively with E. coli β-galactosidase, where basal enzyme was so low in the commonly used wild type that it could, in principle, have been explained (as he was always emphasizing) by the few constitutive mutants that were known to be present.