Protein Synthesis: an Epic on the Cellular Level!

A Nobel prize winning biochemist explains protein synthesis via a dance and music psychedelic freak out session? Yes, that really happened in the 1971 educational cult film classic Protein Synthesis: an Epic on the Cellular Level!

The film is introduced by Paul Berg, who won the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1980 for his work in recombinant DNA. A staff member with a sense of humor alerted me to this movie while I was a grad student at UCSD. I even got to meet one of Berg’s students who said that he was an amazing teacher always looking for creative ways to visualize science. The director and band leader, Robert Alan Weiss, later married Initiator Factor Two. You can read more background on the film here. And a special thanks goes out to the UCSD library for posting a high quality copy.

Obviously it’s well past time for a Covid-19 and/or vaccine remix of this film since both the virus and the mRNA vaccines work by hijacking the very same protein synthesis mechanism depicted by Berg, Weiss and company.

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  1. No scientific explanation ever made me smile so!
    That was an outrageous thing of joyful abandon.
    I wonder how much “smoke” was ingested to help the participants “gyre and gimble in the wabe”?

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