Ursula Mittwoch – “Be kind to colleagues”

It was a privilege and a pleasure to attend Ursula Mittwoch’s birthday reception in the Housman Room at UCL on 18 March 2014.

Ursula’s contributions to genetics underly what we know and are even inclined, perhaps, to take for granted today.

Interview by Peter Harper on 2 March 2004

From reading such authors as J. B. S. Haldane and C. D. Darlington, I’d long known the famous names mentioned by Ursula in her interview with Peter Harper. Those personal heroes knew Ursula and her work. The name Mittwoch came up for me many times in subsequent years. I first met Ursula in 2013, whilst on sabbatical at UCL, where Fiona Williamson kindly introduced us. Fiona and Nick Lane knew of our common interests and drew my attention to one recent publication.

Mittwoch, U. (2013) Sex determination. EMBO Reports 14, 588-592. DOI: 10.1038/embor.2013.84

Ursula’s memorable reception speech contained one piece of advice.  It is surely a perennial key to scientific success.

Be kind to colleagues…

Happy birthday, Ursula!

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Left to right: John Allen, Sue Povey, Ursula Mittwoch, Dallas Swallow, Nick Lane. Photo by Fiona Williamson

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A university is a community of scholars whose purpose is to advance and disseminate knowledge. Research advances knowledge. Teaching disseminates it. Research requires freedom, supportive infrastructure, cooperation, communication, and trust. Teaching is communication and critical examination of existing knowledge within an open society where nothing is beyond question and where knowledge is thus free to advance. Research and teaching are inter-dependent.