Immunology and innovation: Peter Doherty’s life in science


Professor Peter Doherty has certainly had an impressive and illustrious career in immunology. In 1996, he and his colleague Rolf M Zinkernagel were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work on how the immune system recognises virus-infected cells. In 1997, he was named Australian of the Year. Now an indomitable octogenarian, Doherty looks back at his career and reflects on how science has changed in his lifetime.

In this illuminating interview with Research Features, we discuss Doherty’s remarkable journey, today’s global challenges, and ask what advice he’d give young and upcoming scientists.

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Hello, I’m Todd and welcome to ResearchPod!

In 1996, over two decades after their discovery of how killer T cells recognise virus-infected cells, Peter Doherty and Rolf Zinkernagel were awarded a Nobel Prize for their contribution to the field of immunology. In 1997, Doherty was named Australian of the Year.

Now, as an author of eight books on topics as wide-ranging as tennis and chickens, Doherty remains a force to be reckoned with, as well as a voice of reason in the ever-changing world of science. In this illuminating interview with our sister company, Research Features, we discuss Doherty’s remarkable journey, the global challenges of today, and ask what advice he’d give young and upcoming scientists.

Peter C. Doherty: My generation was the first to go to university. I was pretty naive. I did know though that the one thing I wanted to do was stay at school and not go out to work if I could avoid it. And I was interested in the medical sort of sciences, but didn’t want to be a doctor because I thought all the doctors did was sit around in rooms and listen to people whine about their health. So I decided I was going to be a vet and save the world because I’d been through a kind of religious phase by increasing food production. This is back in 1957, 56, a very different world. There was great optimism about science and we thought we could solve a lot of problems with science, which of course we’ve done. So I decided to go to the vet school and be a vet and do veterinary research on diseases of food producing animals. Being an Australian, I didn’t expect to win the Nobel Prize. We’re very modest. You may not think so, but the saying of my childhood where I grew up in Queensland was basically the absolute opposite of American optimism. You say, oh, it’s a beautiful day and we’ve had a great time. And then the sentence would end with But you can’t win, mate.

It’s English working class, basically. And that’s what Australia in many ways is. And also it’s a very harsh country, agriculturally, and a lot of people tried to make their living out of agriculture. There were tremendous failures with soldier settlement schemes after World War I and World War II, for instance. So there was a kind of sense that you could be doing well, but suddenly something would strike you out of nowhere and you would be corrupt. Whereas America, which is such a verdant country with wonderful agricultural land, it’s only recently they started to encounter that with climate change. And they really don’t understand what they’re in for and what’s happening, unfortunately. Australians, I think, have got a pretty good idea.


Interviewer: Going back to, you said that there was quite a lot of optimism around that time.


Peter C. Doherty: Yes, yes, yes. We’d come out of World War II. There’d been enormous advances in World War II, not necessarily advances that all helped people, but penicillin came out of it and a lot of new technology. And there was the general sense that science and reason would help to solve problems. And also, I think there was a general sense after World War II, that we’re kind of all in this boat together and we need to work together. There was more of a collectivist view of the world. We saw that what happened in Britain with the election of the Attlee government and the rejection of Churchill. Even the United States was much more along that line. I mean, Eisenhower, for instance, wanted to introduce a national health system. but the big companies told him not to do it and they’d look after people’s health. Well, of course, that didn’t work out well. So a different world, much more, in a way, realistic world in the sense of people have been through a terrible war and an optimistic world in the sense that people had the sense things would get better.


Interviewer: And do you think that’s different today in forming up to this?


Peter C. Doherty: In the world of Donald Trump, it’s hard to see. No, I think there’s been a considerable reaction against science, even though people don’t realize how science has transformed the world. They don’t connect the fact that they can get on a plane and fly anywhere or that their iPhone can have them talking to anybody anywhere with science. that stuff that just sort of happens and the respect for rational inquiry and reason and truth is not what it was. And a lot of people had aspirations to join that world that look for the truth about things as best we can find it. And that’s been falling off. And then we have someone like Trump, who is simply a compulsive liar, commanding enormous loyalty. And I don’t think we’ve seen a figure quite like that since the 1930s in Europe.


Interviewer: Going back to those global challenges, I guess, that were happening at the time, how can you see that science has sort of changed in being able to help address those global challenges?


Peter C. Doherty: If we look at an issue like climate change, given the limitations of what people across the planet can do collectively and can agree to do, And we’ve seen the limitations of real action on climate change in the sense that we’re not really pulling back greenhouse gas emissions yet. We all realize the problem, or any intelligent person realizes the problem, but basically the COP meeting this year, which is supposed to be the organization that really keeps things moving. This was the first time they’ve actually acknowledged that fossil fuels are involved. So that’s kind of depressing. So part of the solution has to be, I mean, we have to work hard to convince people to change, but part of the solution has to be to provide people with alternatives. So science, technology, rational inquiry, and acting on that has never been more important. But there’s an important difference. The science that served people up till almost now has always improved their economic well-being and, from their point of view, improved their lives, providing more entertainment, better medicine. I mean, there’s been enormous advances in human well-being through advances in medicine, and not just in the developed world. A lot of it has gone across to others in the poorer countries as well. What we’re asking people to do now is to change the way they live in some senses and also change what they value. And what we’re forced to value in our capitalist economy is massive consumption of what is often useless crap. And we’re asked to sacrifice. We’re being asked not to drive around. in a four-liter truck, but to drive around in something more economical and less gas-consuming. We’re being asked to turn down the central heating and so forth. And I think that doesn’t go over very well with large numbers of people. Also, technological change has happened with such rapidity. People have become very disoriented, I think. People blame, for instance, the political process in the USA for the change in the nature of work and the change in the nature of employment. But basically, it’s not the politicians who brought in online marketing. It’s not the politicians who changed farming so that there are mega farms and many family farms have either been sold off or gone to the war. It’s not the politicians who’ve destroyed Main Street in country towns. It’s actually people’s own actions seeking cheaper and more convenient goods. But there’s been a downside there. It’s diminished a lot of people.


Interviewer: And would you maybe be able to talk me through in general terms the work that you were doing when you received the Nobel Prize?


Peter C. Doherty: We made a big discovery back in 1973-74, and the Nobel Prize came 22 years later, which is not an unusual interval. Very common to wait 20 years. There are a few prizes that are faster, but the Swedes like to get the Nobel Prize right, and they don’t like to make a mistake, and they made a few mistakes in the past, so they do wait. Well, the discovery. We discovered that the killer T cells, which are the white blood cells that go round and round in the blood, bump off cancer cells, as we now know from some of the therapies, or bump off virus-infected cells. Viruses grow in our own cells. You have to kill off these virus-infected cells, which are the factories that produce new virus particles. So these killer T cells bump them off. So that’s what we’d found. And then we spent the next I spent probably about from 1973-74 till 2010 researching that with lots of bright young people in laboratories in Australia and in the United States. And in the United States, in Philadelphia, at the Wistar Institute and at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Australia, at the Australian National University and the University of Melbourne, where I am now. trained people, we moved the field forward. But that big discovery that we made back in the 1970s, which actually overturned our understanding of about half of immunology. Of course, you only hit one of those in a lifetime if you’re lucky. Luck is a big part of it, being in the right place and being lucky.


Interviewer: Just picking up on something you said, you just said the Nobel Prize system is quite thorough in picking out any errors. The science rises, yeah. Nowadays we have tools like AI, technological tools that can fact check. I was just wondering about your thoughts on how that’s developing.


Peter C. Doherty: I’m not contemporary enough to really be able to speak with any great degree of insight about AI, but clearly AI has all sorts of applications and I think rightly some of them are quite terrifying from the point of view of jobs and also from the point of view of views badly for individual freedom. So it’s not an area that I comment on because I’m not really into it enough, but I do think that we need very smart people who understand it to be setting some guidelines and rules. Whether those guidelines and rules will be obeyed is another matter.


Interviewer: You said you work with lots of different bright people on your team. What was your sort of approach to collaborative work back then?


Peter C. Doherty: Different levels of collaboration, for instance, bright young people come into the lab because they want to train with you, they think they’re going to learn something from you, and they do, and you’ve got the benefit of knowing a particular field, experience, and of course you bring it under the sort of systems I’ve worked in Australia and New Zealand, the principal investigator, which is someone like me, brings in the money by writing grant applications, often with help from younger people. But on the other hand, it’s a two-way street. So they get that benefit, you get the benefit of working with, because people of my level and people who are leading a regional-sized program, there may be 10 or 20 or 30 people in that program. I never worked with about more than 12 or so people, that was more than enough for me. But they’re not working at the bench, they’re not doing lab experiments, even though I’m an experimentalist. And so the young people are doing the lab work, getting the data together. You’ve got to sort of train people to write it up and think about it. My advice to a young scientist is always don’t move on too quickly. Look at the data you’ve generated. Try and understand it. Live with it. Sleep with it. Forget about personal relationships. Not true. I mean, you’ve got to have a life as well. But love your data. Live with your data. and really look at it closely and try to see what it’s telling you. Because biology, biomedicine particularly, so complicated. If you put together the complexities of the human immune system, which are massive, and the complexity of adding a virus, for instance, into that, you’ve got an extraordinarily complex system. And biological systems, because they’ve evolved, are not like physical laws. They’re not like the laws of physics. They do unexpected things, they find unexpected pathways. So you’ve got to be very alert to possibilities. Look for the odd result. Look for something that doesn’t quite fit. Maybe your thinking will change and maybe you’ll find out something new. I think a lot of people coming into science really don’t get the point that unless you are in say, developing a drug through from discovery to use, which is another perfectly legitimate area of science, which requires specific expertise and so forth. But if you’re in the discovery business, it is about finding things. And you must expect to get things wrong. In fact, you hope your ideas are going to be a bit wrong. Otherwise, you’re not going to discover anything, right? too dogmatic or locked into things in biology. Molecular biology was, for instance, really started by physicists, including a number who became disillusioned after the nuclear bombs. Physicists coming across into biology and using bacteriophage experiments. These are experiments you can do overnight very readily and so forth. And there were a lot of physicists who came and did that. But the problem for physicists is they’re often locked in to a particular conceptual framework. Biologists need to be very careful about getting locked into a conceptual framework that’s rigid. You need to be prepared to shift. That, of course, is one of the problems that politicians and the general public has with scientists because when The public listens to us and the politicians too. The politicians want to be told something that they can really grab hold of and go and run with. The general public wants to be told, but what we tell them is in effect, our best understanding is that. That’s the best a scientist can say. We can’t say as Donald Trump does, this is the truth. We understand our best understanding is that.


Interviewer: in your team to trying to find that best understanding? For example, people shifted from physics to biology. Have you seen all the modes of collaboration change throughout your lifetime?


Peter C. Doherty: That’s within a laboratory. And because we were working, I was always working with infections and immunology, bringing very complex systems together. We’d often divide up different bits of it in the lab and people would collaborate. And so some personalities that didn’t work for, but didn’t really fit my lab model. And we’d kind of alternate authorships and so forth. Some Principal investigators will have a particular project and they’ll set two people on it to compete with each other. I think that’s not a very good dynamic. Personally, it wouldn’t work for me. So my lab was always fairly, hopefully, collegial. It broke down once badly, actually, and it was because of two personalities that got head to head. But otherwise, it was fine. And I’ve had some very successful people come out of that. On the other hand, the other thing that’s become essential with modern biomedical science becoming so complex, and the power of molecular technology being so great, that you can’t do everything yourself within one group. You need to collaborate with other groups, with other people. And often now a paper, which when I started out, you’d have two or three people on the paper, you now have 20 or 30. And in actual fact, on that research paper, there’s probably no single individual who, though they may understand the principles behind the various types of manipulations that are done. There’s no single person who’s really across the whole thing totally. So the whole thing works on trust. And that’s always a great fear, of course. A friend of mine has recently been caught in a situation where someone he trusted was faking data. And there were a lot of hype, some high-profile papers published that have to be withdrawn. So that, of course, destroys the person who did it, but it also causes enormous problem for the person who was running the lab. So you’ve got to be very careful of that and I was always trying to be and so far I think everything’s okay but who knows what might surface in the future, you never can be totally sure.


Interviewer: You talked about like a breakdown in relations between a couple of people.


Peter C. Doherty: in your lab. A pure personality thing.


Interviewer: Yeah. Yeah. Just sort of generally speaking, what would you say was sort of one of the biggest challenges throughout your career, whether it’s sort of in the lab or outside the lab?


Peter C. Doherty: Well, that was, you know, that was a transient period, which was pretty unpleasant. But it was over when one of them left, essentially, and then gradually came back together again. I kind of enjoyed the lab experience. I love looking at data, like talking to young people. And but I treat, you know, basically, if they’re starting to run with something, I let them go. And because I, you know, what I’ve done largely, I haven’t had a lot of graduate students, PhD students, I have largely worked with postdocs. And the postdoctoral period is supposed to be a transition period for those who have the talent between being a recently minted PhD, which is kind of the ticket to do research science, unless you’ve got a medical degree or something, then maybe you don’t need it, you can train in other ways, but generally the PhD is the ticket. So the postdoc is supposed to be a transition between that and becoming an independent person. Now, only, to actually run an independent research laboratory. Many people who graduate with a PhD are not going to make it. I mean, some of them slot in working as kind of super technicians, or they’ll go into product development, or industry, or the regulatory agencies, for instance, or granting agencies. And we had a few people who came through the lab who went in that direction. But you do sort of get the sense of who’s got it, who knows it. And really, part of it, it’s not necessarily the very most intellectual person in the lab. It’s the person who brings together the qualities of focusing on the data, thinking about it, and who also writes because my modus operandi in science has always been, it’s actually to bring it together, and especially when I’m working with younger people where they’re generating all of the data, really bring it together in my own head as I write it up. So one of the most important attributes for a young biomedical scientist is to be able to write Some get around it. I mean, some people with different language backgrounds can work with professional writers, but I find the writing process brings a lot of my thinking together. So writing is another thing. But the other thing, which is absolutely essential, and this doesn’t matter whether you’re selling real estate or you’re doing science, close it out. Some people will just go on forever. They can’t bring themselves to finish something. I tell people to think in terms of the dog food model. Handy bite-sized chunks.


Interviewer: I think it was Wittgenstein that said that you have to be prepared to kill your own babies, essentially. So if you’re really close working on something, you have to be able to put it down.


Peter C. Doherty: So if your idea is wrong, you’ve got to be prepared to kill it. And I’ve seen very senior people unable to do that. And it’s damaged them. If you get it wrong, and in something as complicated as this, it’s quite possible your thinking will be wrong for a time. You’ve got to say, okay, we move on. Now, most successful scientists will do it. Most of them actually, if they get it wrong, they’ll simply tiptoe away. I think it’s actually useful for the process of science. people to say, to actually admit something and write something and say, hey, I got it wrong, and this is why. Most people don’t do it, though. They tiptoe away. And that’s the point about science. I mean, people talk about reproducibility. They’ll talk about all the rest of it, faking and all that sort of stuff. But basically, if it’s fake and it’s wrong, it just goes away.


Interviewer: I was looking at Empire, War, Tennis and Me.


Peter C. Doherty: That’s a family story. That was it was a lot of fun to write. But, you know, I’ve written I’ve written seven books on various aspects of science and the scientific life. This was a family story I’d always meant to write. And with COVID and I finally got around to it. I was going to retire at age 80 and then of course COVID came along right in my field. So I spent another three years intensively involved in science communication around COVID and actually found it quite exhausting. But so yeah, Empire War, Tennis and Me. I had a lot of fun writing that.


Interviewer: I don’t know whether you’ve read any of Andrew Warwick’s work. He sort of talks about sort of the physicality of sport and the physicality of science and sort of competing and fighting against two professional and sort of hobbyistic things.


Peter C. Doherty: Yeah, I think, you know, the Second World War was immensely traumatic for Australia and of course for Britain. But the fighting to the north of us in Papua New Guinea and Borneo and so forth. And the experience of all those soldiers who were trapped in Singapore. Of course, many were British. And we know that wonderful movie, The Railway Man, for instance. And my uncle, one of my uncles had that experience, didn’t come home in the end. But so that experience of, and of course, of losing a son or a daughter or whatever, but also the sort of sense of this threat, I think. It’s terrible to see this coming back in the Ukraine.


Interviewer: You just mentioned that you were sort of involved with the whole response to COVID and communicating it.


Peter C. Doherty: Yes, I wrote 120 weekly essays on it called Setting It Straight, which went up on her website, a sort of blog, trying to sort of get the message across about the science. And eventually I had to stop because There was nothing more I could say. The science wasn’t coming out quickly enough. It was complicated. And so eventually I stopped it. And I’m now writing a monthly column for the Australian, which is more like thinking about science and what’s going on in the world, politics and so forth. But, yeah, so that was very exhausting. And of course, you have a lot of pressure. You have people saying, why aren’t you covering this? Why aren’t you covering that? And then you get this sort of thing about COVID, which has actually got it all of a sudden becomes the most important thing in the world, which it’s not really, but, you know, it’s a virus. There are plenty of other viruses out there. And then there’s a sort of sudden collapse when you’ve got something like, say, the election in the United States, which I was writing about. So it was quite exhausting.


Interviewer: You had the luxury of sort of in the way that you wanted to step back and say, right, there’s nothing more I can say on this. I think a lot of people sort of they’re sort of drip fed information. And I think that’s part of the problem with people, sort of scientists or like public scientists. Sort of the pandemic, I guess, has sort of shown light on that.


Peter C. Doherty: Yeah, that’s one of the things that’s really changed. In a sense, we’re all in this together, as I said, at the beginning of World War II. We have a very strong sense that all the scientists are in it together. There’s a lot of sharing of data and all the rest of it. But then you get into a situation where things get so complicated, and it’s not just the science that’s complicated, it’s the politics. So I’ve tried to take a pretty measured position. I’m not a big fan of the sort of the libertarians who’ve really got this very individualistic view of the world. Because I mean, libertarians and conservatives, I mean, really what it comes down to is that a rich person, whatever rich person may think about it, a rich person does not really think they have any moral obligation to help out a poor person. That’s really what it comes down to, whereas I think they do. And I’ve actually got this sense from an evolutionary point of view, the species, the human species, only survives if it’s a cooperative species, not a competitive species. And there’s a lot of evidence for that. There’s a lot of evidence that cooperation has evolved to the level of society. And that’s why we’re cooperative. We’re not cooperating because somebody made the rules or it was in the Bible or something, which of course people believe, some people believe that. But the real reason is if we didn’t cooperate, we would have died out as a species. And we’re probably under a lot of threat now. We’re certainly under threat in terms of biodiversity, which is the sort of canary in the coal mine, if you like, in terms of the environment. And we’re also under threat from global warming. And there’s some question, given the extraordinary technological changes we’re seeing, whether we actually have the ethical systems and the ethical structures in place to survive.


Interviewer: I just wanted to pick up on your point about sort of cooperation. So with sort of the work you’re doing now, do you feel like that sort of international cooperation is sort of in jeopardy in a way?


Peter C. Doherty: Yes. I think it is in a lot of ways. I think it is. I think that sense of shared goals is breaking down because people are very introspective and because you’ve got this sort of very fierce nationalism going on in the United States. I mean, the vaccine nationalism, for instance, which is absolutely crazy. I mean, okay, you protect your own people first, but basically, we’re all in this together. And we can’t really isolate ourselves from what’s happening in the Congo or what’s happening in India. So that’s one aspect of it. But the other aspect of it is the sort of international cooperation on global warming, which is in a terrible state. People talk about Paris. Paris was a bloody fraud. It’s not a fraud. I mean, if you could get it all done, it wouldn’t be, but we’re nowhere near it. We’re nowhere near it. So we need to do something and we need to do something very quickly. We need the cooperation, not just between nation states, but between cities and states, even if you can’t get it at the top level, you can get it at the bottom level. And then maybe it’ll work its way up. So that’s the sort of approach I think we have to take. But it’s all very well for me to say that sitting here in Melbourne, where it’s a very well-organized society, but it’s not so well-organized in many other places.


Interviewer: Just going back to sort of your experiences with sort of international cooperation. So you sort of spoke about sort of your experiences sort of the research side of things and sort of the collaborative research, sort of how was that sort of international cooperation experience from sort of a more personal level.


Peter C. Doherty: Well, actually, I’m reasonably well-organized, so that I can always get on a plane and fly to wherever I’m going, stay a few days and come back. But it’s very hard to keep up. I’ve got a lot of close friends, for instance, in the UK and in the United States. But I’ve kind of lost touch with them because I just haven’t been able to go. I mean, I got trapped in Philadelphia for 10 months because of COVID. So there are those sort of personal connections, which are really important. And I think they are under threat. I think they are under threat. And particularly at the moment, because of course, a lot of the universities are closed down and people can’t get together.


Interviewer: Do you think sort of the science would sort of change that, sort of like the developments in technology, sort of bring people together?


Peter C. Doherty: Well, that’s an interesting question. I mean, I do a lot of work in the United States and basically the idea that you could work from home, which people have been talking about for years, but nobody really thought about it. I mean, it’s only just coming into science. I mean, it’s an interesting question as to whether that’s going to work. Because science, I think, for instance, requires a sort of immediate access to people’s thinking. I mean, you want to walk into a laboratory. You want to see what’s going on. And particularly, I think in an area like my area, which is so complex, the data and the models that you might develop in your own head from that data, I mean, people talk about modeling. Modeling’s got a very big role in COVID, for instance, but often the models are very simplistic. And so you’ve really got to have an understanding of the data that underlies the model. And I’m not sure that that’s going to work as well. I mean, I’ve had plenty of email communications and zoom meetings, but it’s not the same as sitting down with someone and saying, well, okay, so that doesn’t work. What about this? Or, well, that’s interesting. What about that? So I think that the personal connection is important. Whether the world’s going to go back to what it was, I mean, I’m not even sure I want to go back to what it was. But I do think there are certain elements of personal interaction which are very important.


Interviewer: Do you think sort of the lockdown sort of, for better or worse, has sort of shown that sort of social media, sort of your Zoom calls, sort of how much sort of, how much sort of communication and collaboration can sort of be done through those mediums? Sort of when people have been forced to?


Peter C. Doherty: Yeah, I think it has. And I think it’s brought it forward very quickly. And of course, the education process, I think, has gone forward very quickly. And certainly, in the universities, a lot of people, particularly older people, older faculty members, sort of my age, have been complaining about all the stuff that’s online. And it’s not as good as face-to-face, which is, I’m sure, true, but it’s a heck of a lot better than nothing. And I think we’re seeing that with the sort of extension of tertiary education through to the whole of life. We’re going to have to move to that. I mean, people are not going to be able to afford to stop working at age 55 or 60 or whatever, which a lot of people do now. They’re going to have to be retraining all the time. And so a lot of the information can be online. It can be done very quickly. And so there’s a whole lot of stuff that’s been bubbling away in the background that’s been brought forward very quickly. And I think we’re seeing that in all sorts of areas. We’re seeing it in medicine. For instance, telemedicine, which has been bubbling away for 20 years, suddenly bang, overnight, it’s just gone mainstream. And people have learned a lot from that. And I think you’ll find that the young people coming through, for instance, will be much more facile with it than someone like myself, who was brought up in a completely different era.


Interviewer: How do you think sort of the experiences of sort of COVID and sort of the experiences with sort of like a shared purpose sort of brought about by a pandemic? How do you think sort of that sort of will affect like people sort of look at science and technology sort of moving forward?


Peter C. Doherty: Well, I think it’s brought to the forefront. I mean, people have always seen scientists, if they’ve seen them at all, as sort of strange and odd and wearing white coats and whatever. And it’s not like that. I mean, science is just like any other sort of occupation. Some people do it well, some people don’t. Some people are very nice, some people are not. But science is basically collaborative. And the thing about it, which is kind of hard for the public to understand, is that if you’re working in an area, you’ll collaborate with people all over the world. And you can be best friends with someone in St. Louis or whatever. And so science has always been collaborative. And so I think it’s just sort of brought that home and it’s brought home the importance of it. I mean, people talk about science as a career. It’s not really a career. I mean, it’s not really like law or medicine or something like that. I mean, science is actually a sort of lifestyle. You just get completely engrossed in it. And the great scientists have always been that way. I mean, you can’t be a great scientist unless you’re completely engrossed in what you’re doing. And it’s hard for people to understand that. But it’s true. And so I think that sort of aspect of it is good. It’s good because it gives people, I mean, science has always been important. I mean, if you look at the history of science, science has always been important. But it’s not something that most people understand.


Interviewer: You sort of mentioned sort of collaboration sort of stretching across sort of international borders and sort of with sort of the experiences with COVID sort of the pandemic. Do you think sort of that sort of sense of collaboration could be stretched further, sort of outside of sort of the science and sort of technological world?


Peter C. Doherty: Yes, I think it’s very interesting. I think it can. I mean, I think in certain areas it already has. And one of the things that, for instance, we see happening now is that people from the developing world who have had an opportunity to train overseas and then can’t get jobs because it’s too corrupt or too whatever, too much bureaucracy, whatever it is, they go back and they set up things. I mean, there’s a woman in Kenya who’s doing amazing things with vaccine technology, for instance. And so I think those sort of connections, I think, are happening. Whether they’re happening quickly enough, I don’t know. I don’t know.

I think constantly about dropping it totally and I would never start up on some other social media platform. I’d like to get back to writing, but I haven’t been able to for a time because I’ve actually formally retired and there’s a whole lot of stuff in terms of personal business and things like that we just let go. And we’re trying to put it all out together at the moment. And so I’m really missing, actually, though, working on something. I’ve got an idea for a book that I really want to pursue. And I like to write about things I don’t know a whole lot about, actually. Yeah. Because you learn from it. I don’t really. I’m totally bored. I should write a book called, say, The Long and the Short of COVID-19. But the thought of it appalls me. I may do it, but it might be a bit soon to do it anyway. I intend to keep writing books, even though, you know, books are probably, probably a blog post is a better way of communicating with people, really. But I don’t want to do that. I like to write books, because I like to synthesize a total piece of work. I mean, you know, the thing about tennis, really, it I’d never understood the war to our north. I’d never looked at the causes. I’ve always got to go, you know, I’m total academic. I’ve got to go in depth, dissect it and try and ask, why did this happen? OK, and what was the meaning of it? And so that’s what I hope comes through in that tennis book. You know, what was going on? Why was this the way it was? And it was very educational. And I learned a lot from it. But I’ve learned a lot from all the books I’ve written, actually. Except maybe the one that I wrote during the pandemic, An Insider’s Play Year, which isn’t a real book. It’s just bits of that blog post and a bit of background. But I say to people, I’m not very proud of that book. And they say, oh, no, we thought it was good. Yeah, yeah, I thought it was good. Probably the one I’m most proud of in the science lineage is the knowledge wars, I thought. But as a philosopher, you might see a lot of holes in it. But well, I mean, there’s a chapter on invented narrative and deliberate ignorance, which is a perfect description of Trump. Thank you very much. It’s been nice to talk.

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