The John Curtin School of Medical Research, JCSMR, has a very distinguished history, and its glittering prizes are unequalled in the history of medical research in Australia. It was created as a unique institution, and a unique institution it remains.
The authors of this book are two of our most distinguished alumni, and both are former Directors. Together they bring over 90 years at the Australian National University to the task, and both have ongoing and valued associations with the School. Both Carlyle and Emerson commented on the essential role of biography in history. Fenner and Curtis have followed this tradition by inviting former and current staff to give personal accounts of some aspects of their work in the School.
Given the many forceful personalities who have spent all or much of their working lives in the School, it is not surprising that the School has had its fair share of controversy. Few academic institutions of any merit could not say the same. But the JCSMR, by virtue of its position in the national capital, lives in the constant spotlight of media attention and that has tended to further colour its already colourful history.
The publication of this book was made possible by a very generous donation from Frank Fenner. His generosity of spirit is part of the fabric of our School.
- Judith A. Whitworth, June 2001