Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science
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From Nobel Prize-winning scientist James D. Watson, a living legend for his work unlocking the structure of DNA, comes this candid and entertaining memoir, filled with practical advice for those starting out their academic careers.
In Avoid Boring People, Watson lays down a life’s wisdom for getting ahead in a competitive world. Witty and uncompromisingly honest, he shares his thoughts on how young scientists should choose the projects that will shape their careers, the supreme importance of collegiality, and dealing with competitors within the same institution. It’s an irreverent romp through Watson’s colorful career and an indispensable guide to anyone interested in nurturing the life of the mind.
the Lab. At roughly the same time, I was about to finish two long introductory chapters for the Molecular Biology of Tumor Viruses. When first conceived, it was to be a short book. But it steadily grew to more than 750 pages in thirteen chapters, written by twenty-two authors who included David Baltimore and Howard Temin, who were to share the 1975 Nobel Prize for their research on retroviruses. Also writing much of the book was Joe Sambrook, whose great talents as a scientist I found equaled by
Matt Meselson, and likely also Mark Ptashne, would be teaching in California. To my dismay, Derek's goodbye was entirely perfunctory, giving not a hint that my departure was any loss for Harvard or any detriment to its future. At the start of June, I flew back to Boston for my last visit to University Hall as a member of its faculty. That afternoon, Henry Rosovsky and I tried hard not to focus on the fact that I was soon to be gone. It was easier to talk about George Wald's pretentious
transported from one cell to another. Supporting his conjecture was the finding in the mid-1930S that DNA, a soon-to-be-discovered major component of all chromosomes, also was a major component of the phages. Even more important was the 1944 discovery by Oswald Avery and his coworkers at the Rockefeller Institute in New York that DNA could transmit genetic markers in pneumonia bacteria. Conceivably much, if not all, of the genetic specificity of phages also resided in their DNA components.
particles could somehow still multiply), was best explained by the independent replication of undamaged genetic determinants. But Renato's experiments soon began to show that the genes surviving a given UV dose replicated more slowly than their unirradiated counterparts. Conceivably there were no independently multiplying sets of phage genes. Instead they might linearly arrange on one or several chromosomes. If so, multiplicity reactivation was the result of crossing-over events between phage
embryologist C. H. Waddington, who thought me verging toward Salvador Dali-like manic egocentricity. By the year's end, some seventy thousand books had sold in the United States and British sales approached thirty thousand. Given its generally high praise and wide visibility, Tom Wilson thought I would be a shoo-in for the 1969 National Book Award in science. But it went to Yale's Robert Jay Lifton for Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima. Though I was disappointed, I no longer needed others to