Science has always thrived on the free exchange of ideas and discoveries across national and continental boundaries. As a consequence, like most of my successful (particularly Where is Changchun China?) colleagues, work-related commitments have taken me regularly across the world’s great oceans and landmasses. Along the way, I’ve become what I think of as an incidental tourist. That does not, of course, mean that Penny and I have failed to take relaxing vacations with only the anticipation of seeing new places in mind. But what I’m writing about here are those surprising intrusions that inform, enlighten and even delight when we are travelling for other reasons. That’s Incidental Tourism.
Where is Changchun China? | Map of Changchun China | Changchun China Map for Free Download and Prin Photo Gallery
My first long-distance air itinerary was when we, along with our two small Scottish-born boys, returned home after spending almost five years in that centre of eighteenth century enlightenment, the delightful city of Edinburgh. Penny had previously flown from Britain to Australia on one of the improved (that is, a plane that no longer broke up mid-air due to structural failure) De Havilland Comets, the pioneering all-jet international airliner. This time, hopping via Beirut to Athens, then on to Hong Kong, we visited friends before completing the final leg to Brisbane on a Qantas Boeing 707. This trip was my first experience of pure jet travel, Map of Changchun China though I’d flown earlier on Vickers Viscount, Vanguard and Lockheed Electra turboprops. The Vickers planes are long gone, but a military version of the Electra, the Orion AWAC, is still in use around the world.
Living in Canberra and working at the Australian National University’s John Curtin School of Medical Research, visiting Swiss scientist Rolf Zinkernagel and I discovered (in 1973), and then developed our ideas about, how the body’s immune cells protect against viruses, which led to our being recognised by the 1996 Nobel Prize for Medicine. The Swedes may have taken a couple of decades to come to their decision but the immediate effect was that, from 1974, I emerged from total obscurity in my field to being in demand on the international immunology circuit, and I was flying a great deal. Penny and I then spent the next decades living between the United States and Australia.
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