For over two billion years, through the apparent fancy of her endless differentiations and metamorphosis the Cell, as regards its basic physiological mechanisms, has remained one and the same. It is life itself, and our true and distant ancestor.
Is it absurd to imagine that our social behavior, from amoeba to man, is also planned and dictated, from stored information, by the cells? And that the time has come for men to be entrusted with the task, through heroic efforts, of bringing life to other worlds?
Looking back 25 years later, what I may say is that the facts have been far better than the dreams. In the long course of cell life on this earth it remained, for our age for our generation, to receive the full ownership of our inheritance.
The cell, over the billions of years of her life, has covered the earth many times with her substance, found ways to control herself and her environment, and insure her survival.
When I went to the University, the medical school was the only place where one could hope to find the means to study life, its nature, its origins, and its ills.
As far as I remember, even younger than eight, I have always been guided by reason. Not cold reason, but that which leads to the truth, to the real, and to sane Justice.
For the resolving powers of our scientific instruments decide, at a given moment, of the size and the vision of our Universe, and of the image we then make of ourselves.
No doubt, man will continue to weigh and to measure, watch himself grow, and his Universe around him and with him, according to the ever growing powers of his tools.
This familiarity with a respected physician and my appreciation of his work, or the tragedy I experienced with the long, tormented agony and death of my mother might have influenced me in wanting to study medicine. It was not the case.
Man has now become an adjunct to perfect and carry forward these conquests.
Man, like other organisms, is so perfectly coordinated that he may easily forget, whether awake or asleep, that he is a colony of cells in action, and that it is the cells which achieve, through him, what he has the illusion of accomplishing himself.
Small bodies, about half a micron in diameter, and later referred to under the name of 'mitochondria' were detected under the light microscope as early as 1894.
For this equilibrium now in sight, let us trust that mankind, as it has occurred in the greatest periods of its past, will find for itself a new code of ethics, common to all, made of tolerance, of courage, and of faith in the Spirit of men.
Once Ptolemy and Plato, yesterday Newton, today Einstein, and tomorrow new faiths, new beliefs, and new dimensions.
But, in the name of the experimental method and out of our poor knowledge, are we really entitled to claim that everything happens by chance, to the exclusion of all other possibilities?