Moselio Schaechter

  • The purpose of this blog is to share my appreciation for the width and depth of the microbial activities on this planet. I will emphasize the unusual and the unexpected phenomena for which I have a special fascination... (more)

    For the memoirs of my first 21 years of life, click here.

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February 25, 2013

A Tale of Centenarians

by Claudio Scazzocchio

Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909-2012)

Editor’s Note: While it may be true that bacteria do not have neurons (at least not more than one per cell!), their modes of communication hint at a simple equivalent of a nervous system. But we need not apologize for the inclusion in this blog of a non-microbiological topic. The story here described has much poignancy and is relevant to all biologists.

The year 2012 was quite turbulent in Italian politics but it ended with a display of near unanimity. The reason was the posthumous homage to the oldest senator of the Republic and the oldest Nobel Prize winner, Rita Levi-Montalcini. In Italy, the President has the privilege of personally naming up to five senators–for–life, with all the legislative privileges and duties that entails. In 2001, President Ciampi appointed her to this post, which she held until her death at the age of 103 on December 30, 2012.

Continue reading "A Tale of Centenarians" »

January 07, 2008

¡Atención Hispanoparlantes!

Por primera vez, un articulo de este blog ha sido traducido al castellano (un idioma que Elio maneja). Vease Tomen la oportunidad de visitar este blog madrileño, que es de primera clase.

Varios de Uds. abrán notado que este blog otorga la opción de traducir un entero documento a varios idiomas. Como la traducción es hecha “a maquina”, el resultado es frecuentemente chistoso.

For our non-Spanish speakers:

Attention Spanish Speakers. For the first time, an article from this blog has been translated for posting on a Spanish microbiology blog. See This is a first class blog that comes to us from Madrid.

Some of you will have noticed the TRANSLATION button on our blog which quickly translates the entire document into any of several languages. Being that this is done by machine, the result can be hilarious.

December 17, 2007

Holidays 2007

We are taking a holiday break. We wish all our readers and their microbiomes a happy holiday season and a symbiotic new year.


Winter Solstice in Antarctica. Triple exposure, photo by Critter.

November 30, 2007

'tis the 30th of November...

...and today we celebrate the first anniversary of this blog. It’s been fun (and considerable work). We thank all who have contributed by writing articles, commenting, and visiting.

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October 10, 2007

A Nice Bouquet

"I just came across your blog and wanted to thank you for contributing such a breadth of information regarding many different aspects of microbiology. I'm going to be teaching an advanced microbiology course this spring and I'm excited to be referencing your blog.

Thanks again for spending the time to do this."

Bethany D. Jenkins
University of Rhode Island

August 30, 2007

Calling All Teachers

As the school year begins, we would like to hear from you about uses that you may have for this blog in your classroom. We think that the material here lends itself particularly well to use as supplemental readings─providing intellectual enrichment to students who desire it. The blog has been mentioned in class syllabi, usually under "Further reading" or "Interesting material" or some such heading. And indeed, this accurately depicts one of its uses.

But we would like to encourage you to consider various other uses, as well. We know of several more active ways in which the blog has been utilized already.

Continue reading "Calling All Teachers" »

July 13, 2007


Last May, a group of microbiologically-oriented bloggers were interviewed by Chris Condayan of the American Society for Microbiology's MicrobeWorld. This video ("Microblogology") features John Logsdon, Jonathan Badger, Yersinia, Larry Moran, Tara Smith, and myself. We talk about why we blog, what we think is the role of blogging in science, and our views of the greatest microbiological discoveries in the past decade.

May 13, 2007

A Friend Has a Birthday

One of the most steadfast friends of this blog, Robert Murray, will soon be honored on his 88th birthday by an honorary degree from McGill University.

Continue reading "A Friend Has a Birthday" »

April 26, 2007

A "Compte Rendu"

Some distinguished French journals, both old and contemporary, are called Comptes rendus..., a term that to me has the right sound for this entry. Loosely translated it means "accounts rendered."

I wish to render an account of this blog's first six month of existence.

Continue reading "A "Compte Rendu"" »

Teachers' Corner


How to Interact with This Blog

  • We welcome readers to answer queries and comment on our musings. To leave a comment or view others, remarks, click the "Comments" link in red following each blog post. We also occasionally publish guest blog posts from microbiologists, students, and others with a relevant story to share. If you are interested in authoring an article, please email us at elios179 at gmail dot com.

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