At the end of 1981, the year that I had shown that cloned poliovirus DNA is infectious, BBC Radio asked me to do an interview about the work. The name of the show was Science Now but I can’t recall who was the host. Whoever he was, he didn’t understand what I had done and got the science all wrong. Listen to the interview below and see if you can spot his errors.
For the interview I went to the MIT student radio station where I sat alone behind a wall of glass, with headphones on, before a very large microphone. On the other side of the glass a few disk jockeys were broadcasting a show; the music came through and was picked up by the BBC recorder.
A few weeks after the interview the BBC sent me a tape of the show with a note which read “With the compliments of the British Broadcasting Corporation”. I found the tape recently in a desk drawer and amazingly, the recording was still intact. But I had forgotten how little the radio host knew about viruses.
Download the file (5 min 3.9 MB .mp3)