Sunday, 8 pm – Catching the worm: William C. Campbell in conversation with Luke O’Neill, MRIA, and Claire O’Connell

Posted on: 26 June 2020

Tune in online at 8 pm this Sunday [28th June] as Nobel Prize-winner and Trinity graduate, Professor William C. Campbell, launches his memoir ‘Catching the worm’ in conversation with Trinity’s Professor Luke O’Neill and journalist, Claire O’Connell.

Fittingly, the conversation that celebrates the launch of the book and Professor Campbell’s life and significant scientific contribution to the world also aligns with his 90th birthday.

Published by the Royal Irish Academy in partnership with the RDS, ‘Catching the worm’ outlines – in Professor Campbell’s own words – how his research ultimately led to the development of the drug Ivermectin, which has been made available to those who need it at no cost, and which has as a result almost eradicated the devastating disease of river blindness.

The work, carried out at Merck pharmaceuticals, was a direct extension of Professor Campbell’s education in parasitology in the Zoology department at Trinity, and was the catalyst for his success in sharing the 2015 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

When visting the Zoology Department in 2017, Professor Campbell donated his old dissection kit, which he bought as a student when he started in Zoology in the late 1940s. It will forever serve as a moving reminder that our students go on to do remarkable things.

Within the memoir, Professor Campbell recalls his time at Trinity with great fondness, as the two brief excerpts below highlight.

“…the big thing for me at Trinity was that I learned the skill and art of learning. I enjoyed independent study, reconstructing something I had read so that I could write about it. I tested myself constantly. The required essays that I wrote had serious content, and I recall Professor Smyth doing something he said he had never done before: he singled out one of my essays for reading to the class. Coming from a family where the compliments were countable on the fingers of one hand, that was a big deal.”

“When school students are thinking about going to college, they (and their parents) often think about the subjects they will study and the academic credentials of a particular institution. That is important, certainly, yet so much of the growth we experience in college is due to being there, making friends and having adventures and new experiences. These are the things of which memories are made.”

To listen to the conversation, tune in to www.ria/ie/catchingtheworm from 8 pm on Sunday 28th June.

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