Demerec had retained his Yugoslav accent. And completely, so he also didn't use articles, so that I could tell he used to say, you know, "Put medium in test tube."
He was very interesting in the sense that he was very careful about expenditures in the lab. For example, I can remember he liked to switch off the Bunsen burner. He would come in and his hand would be automatic. And I remember one afternoon he came in to talk to me and I decided I would position myself between him and the Bunsen burner. And so his hand was going around me, you know, trying to reach it but he failed that time! I think that that is basically how I remember him from that summer of 54.
Of course there is a wonderful story about Demerec that Al Hershey and I invented. And the story is "Demerec discovered that manganese makes mutations. So the story goes that somebody in the audience, he didn't know too much chemistry. Somebody in the audience asks him, "What is the effect of pH?" And so Demerec replies, "We tried adding pH. We also left it out and we got the same effects." So it was apocryphal, but could be true! And that was how I remember Demerec.
*THIS MEMORY WAS EXTRACTED FROM A CSHL ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW*
Last edited by Marisa Macari : 01-30-2006 at 11:30 PM.