In 1967, George Wald, along with Ragnar Granit and Haldan Keffer Hartline won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye.”
In 1970, Studs invited Dr. Wald (of Harvard University) to speak on his show. In the meantime, Dr. Wald had given a talk at an MIT anti-war teach-in: “A Generation in Search of a Future” (read it here).
Perhaps not surprising to Studs’ regular listeners, the two men do not discuss the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye. Instead, they talk about Dr. Wald’s speech, student unrest, destruction of the environment, and the possibility of nuclear war. Dr. Wald tells Studs, “We’ve reached a time, the like of which has not appeared in human history in which the whole human enterprise is threatened, all over the world. The future of humanity is at stake.”
From here, the conversation moves on to the difference between science and technology, and the ethical imperatives of our fast-paced technological world. Dr. Wald admonishes us to “only do those things that seem right and good to you.” The relationship between technology and humanity is one Studs returns to consistently; but maybe that’s not unexpected for a man who uses technology as a medium to collect and convey human stories. In 1962, he spoke to French filmmaker Jacques Tati about much the same thing (although from a more humorous perspective). Listen here.
Photo: Author unknown, public domain, http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1967/