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My CIA brother-in-law


Leaving the PSC boll weevil committee in 1963
James Watson Scientist
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I was, rewarded, for my services on the pesticide committee, by being in charge of a committee to investigate whether you could stop the boll weevil from coming in to Arizona from Mexico. And there the big hope was the technique if you flooded Mexico with sterile males that no young boll weevils would be born and Arizona would be saved. And Arizona had an ancient senator who had requested to Kennedy that Arizona needed health protection from the boll weevil. Because once the boll weevil came in they just don’t know how many million dollars more the common farmers were going to spend on pesticides. So, you know, that was the-
Well, then there were, you know, then there was a very, was integrated pest management, small plots don’t ask me to remember, promoted by a professor at he was the university come from probably Davidson, a very good guy, who was put on the boll weevil committee. And you know, I wanted someone who, whereas the boll weevil committee was located in State College, Mississippi, with Jamie Whitman who was head of the agriculture appropriations Department of Congress. He ran agriculture. The president had nothing to say about any aspect of his budget. And so if you were fighting the boll weevil, we did it in Mississippi, which at that time was weak in science. But Jamie’s, I remember her niece, Jamie’s niece, she worked there. So, you know, it was, but a congressman’s whole job is in contracts.

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: Walter Gratzer Martin Raff

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

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



Duration: 2 minutes, 13 seconds

Date story recorded: November 2008 and October 2009

Date story went live: 18 June 2010