News FocusDidier Raoult Profile

Sound and Fury in the Microbiology Lab

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Science  02 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6072, pp. 1033-1035
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6072.1033

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At 59, Didier Raoult is the most productive and influential microbiologist in France, leading a team of 200 scientists and students at the University of Aix-Marseille. He has discovered or co-discovered dozens of new bacteria, and in 2003, he stunned colleagues with a virus of record size, dubbed Mimivirus, the first member of a family that sheds an intriguing new light on the evolution of viruses and the tree of life. Controversial and outspoken, Raoult last year published a popular science book that flat-out declares that Darwin's theory of evolution is wrong. And he was temporarily banned from publishing in a dozen leading microbiology journals in 2006. Scientists at Raoult's lab say they wouldn't want to work anywhere else. Yet Raoult is also known for his enmities and his disdain for those who disagree with him.

  • * Catherine Mary is a writer in Caluire, France.

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