judithA Dinner Conversation with Judith Heimann '57 on The Making of the First Genetically Modified Plants and the People who did It

This presentation is based on four years of in-depth interviews with scientists, micro and molecular biologists, chemists, and geneticists from many countries.


Judith M. Heimann, a New Yorker by birth, and a (Radcliffe) Harvard graduate in English literature, comes from a family of writers, mostly journalists. She has spent much of her life in Europe, Asia, and Africa as an American diplomat and diplomat's wife. Her diplomatic memoirs, Paying Calls in Shangri-La: scenes from a woman's life in American diplomacy (U. of Ohio Press, 2016), was nominated for the American Academy of Diplomacy's Douglas Dillon prize for the best book on the art of diplomacy.

She will speak about what she learned in researching and writing her fourth book, her first entirely on a scientific subject: Using Nature’s Shuttle: The making of the first genetically modified plants and the people who did it (Wageningen Academic Publishers, NL, 2018).The book is based on four years of in-depth interviews she made of the (mostly young) scientists involved: two dozen micro- and molecular biologists, chemists, and geneticists from many countries working in labs in Belgian public universities. Heimann's scientist informants told her what it was like for them, while engaged in basic research. exploring the newly visible worlds of molecular and microbiology, to come upon an ancient strain of bacteria that was able to genetically modify plants; this led them to adapt its techniques to make desirable changes in a variety of plants. As in the book, she will sketch the jargon-free story of their discovery and the adaptations these young scientists developed from it, leading to what Nobel laureate and molecular biologist Sir Richard Roberts calls “probably the greatest advance in agricultural biotechnology since the invention of agriculture”.


Harvard Club members and their guests: $45/person
Non-Members: $65/person
Ticket includes talk, full dinner, and drinks. Menu TBD


  • Breaded chicken breast topped with a tomato, artichoke, and cipollini onion ragout

  • Blackened Salmon with lemon

  • Spring Pea and Sunburst Squash

  • Roasted Peruvian Potatoes - with marjoram, sea salt, and cracked black pepper

  • Sliced Fruit

  • Creme Brulee

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This venue is fully handicap accessible and our meals are designed to accommodate vegetarians.

The nearest metro station is Metro Center. Exit at 12th and F Street, NW. Your destination is the building named "Columbia Square" which will you see right in front of you as you exit the escalator.

There are several nearby parking garages including:

  • Columbia Square Parking Garage: 555 12th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004 (202) 637-8105
  • Parking Management: 600 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004 (202) 347-5469


Tuesday, 04/30/19 at 6:30pm - 8:30pm | iCal


Hogan Lovells
555 13th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004 USA

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