Editorial By Walter Schaffner
Before Max Birnstiel moved eastward to found the IMP in Vienna, I had the privilege to work with him in Zürich in his Institute of Molecular Biology II. Why II? Because there was also Molecular Biology I, of course. One may wonder why there were, to begin with, two Institutes of Molecular Biology in our relatively small University. That had to do with two outstanding scientists who had a great impact on the development of molecular biology in Zürich and far beyond: Charles Weissmann and Max L. Birnstiel. Each one of them was recruited back to Switzerland by the renowned Zoologist Ernst Hadorn, and each one had his own vision of how to do science - hence the unconventional solution of twin institutes. Since I had done my diploma with Ernst Hadorn, the Ph.D. with Charles Weissmann, and later was a group leader with Max Birnstiel, I may present here some of my recollections of exciting early years in research, which I presented in a similar form at the 1997 celebration of 30 years of molecular biology in Zürich.