Prof. em. Dr. Rudolf Hausmann

Institute of Biology III
University of Freiburg
Schänzlestr. 1
D-79104 Freiburg i. Br.

I retired in 1994 and in that year I closed my lab but not my office. My research interests had centered on bacteriophage genetics, especially on the genetics of bacteriophage T7 and a group of related phages. Special attention was given to the evolution of the promoter specificity of phage-coded RNA polymerases. Although phylogenetically related by several criteria, many phage RNA polymerases of the T7 group were unable to recognize heterologous promoters. For an overview of my research work, see my review "The T7 group", in: The Bacteriophages 1, p. 259-289; R. Calendar (ed.), Plenum Press, N.Y. (1988).

After I retired, I concentrated on another long-standing interest of mine, namely the history of genetics. Besides some lecture series on that topic, I wrote a book on the history of molecular biology (… und wollten versuchen, das Leben zu verstehen… Betrachtungen zur Geschichte der Molekularbiologie; 1995, Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt). The original version in German was the basic text for an expanded and updated edition in English, now in press (To grasp the essence of life - a history of molecular biology; Kluver Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands). At the moment I'm writing a book about the development of the thoughts on heredity in the course of centuries past, with some critical and ironic overtones with regard to the present and the future. (As an easy-going retiree, this task will keep me busy - hopefully - for some years.)