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My ideas for Cold Spring Harbor and work on cancer


Running labs
James Watson Scientist
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My lab at Harvard sort of went on till ’76 with Wally, though in ’74, so I had, and I brought down a couple of the new graduate students from Harvard who wanted to work on tumor viruses. One of them Rex Risser became very good, and then he died of a heart attack early in life, so he got a job with McArdle in Wisconsin. No, I went to Cold Spring Harbor in ’68, that was “The Double Helix” came out, and in a true sense I didn’t have a lab at Harvard. You know, I had one, but I wasn’t, I didn’t think of ‘my’ experiments, you know, it was the group’s experiments, and just gradually into another level, instead of doing science with your students. Having a science that interests you, done now by young staff members. So, as long as I controlled, in a broad sense, what were the experiments done, running a lab would just be, I didn’t want to write. You know, I wrote some of the first big grant applications, the sort of centre grants for Cold Stream Harbor Joe and I, but I was raising big sums of money, but I didn’t want a grant. And, I didn’t, you know, oversee the, I had a lab at Harvard for 20 years. So, you know, that was long enough and so I was, you know, I became a manager of science. You know, I was managing a baseball team filled with stars, and you know, how do you deal with them?

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, 12 seconds

Date story recorded: November 2008 and October 2009

Date story went live: 18 June 2010