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Writing The Molecular Biology of the Gene


The importance of space in universities
James Watson Scientist
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We had a Biology and Chemistry Department and all space was assigned by departments, so the Committee for Higher Degrees had no space and the really most important thing in a university is space. Do you have rooms to do what you want to do? You know, can you give someone an office? And so space decisions are... set the tone for an institution. When I went to Harvard, even though they didn't want me, one third of the building had never been built out since the Great Depression. One third of the building was waiting for times to get better, which now makes me worry that American academia may be in the same position. We're just completing buildings which will only be completed when we're out of the current great depression.

American molecular biologist James Dewey Watson is probably best known for discovering the structure of DNA for which he was jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins. His long career has seen him teaching at Harvard and Caltech, and taking over the directorship of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. From 1988 to 1992, James Watson was head of the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health. His current research focuses on the study of cancer.

Listeners: Martin Raff Walter Gratzer

Martin Raff is a Canadian-born neurologist and research biologist who has made important contributions to immunology and cell development. He has a special interest in apoptosis, the phenomenon of cell death.



Listen to Martin Raff at Web of Stories



Walter Gratzer is Emeritus Professor of Biophysical Chemistry at King's College London, and was for most of his research career a member of the scientific staff of the Medical Research Council. He is the author of several books on popular science. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard and has known Jim Watson since that time

Tags: Great Depression, space, univeristy, research

Duration: 56 seconds

Date story recorded: November 2008 and October 2009

Date story went live: 18 June 2010