Joshua Lederberg begins the interview with a discussion of his involvement in the contamination issues of planetary exploration. As interest in space exploration gained momentum, Lederberg was in the midst of discussion regarding protecting the Earth from possible extraterrestrial contamination. Lederberg felt that more emphasis needed to be placed on building a sound space program, one that focused more on planetary research rather than sending humans into space. Lederberg worked to develop alternatives to the "man-in-space" program, focusing on the importance for international cooperation. Lederberg served on several national committees, including the Space Science Board and the Kennedy Health Transition Team. After receiving the Nobel Prize in 1958, Lederberg joined the faculty of Stanford University, where he continued his life-long research in the genetic structure and function in microorganisms. Lederberg continued to be actively involved in artificial intelligence research and in the NASA experimental programs seeking life on Mars. He has also been a consultant on health-related matters for both the U.S. and international communities, serving on the World Health Organization's Advisory Health Research Council. Lederberg wrote his own column on a wide variety of topics, both scientific and non-scientific. Lederberg concludes the interview with a discussion of the environment at Stanford University during the Cold War and thoughts on U.S. defense projects.
Joshua Lederberg, interviewed by Audra J. Wolfe in Rockefeller University on August 18, 2000. Philadelphia: Science History Institute, n.d. Oral History Transcript 0199. https://digital.sciencehistory.org/works/b2773w87x.
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