Hamilton Smith on Arrival at CSHL
  Hamilton Smith     Biography    
Recorded: 03 Mar 2006

You know, it was six weeks after I left medicine that I went to this first meeting. But it felt great, you know, interacting with all those people. I can vividly remember actually taking the train up to New York and getting off I think in Huntington or one of those towns nearby, and I was decked out in a suit with a jacket and I had a new leather bag. I got a cab. I got in after dark, and the cab driver didn’t have a clue where it was, he had to ask around. This was 1962. Finally I arrived and went in the entrance, I guess at the lecture hall, or what’s the name of— Yeah, Blackford I guess it was. It wasn’t a lecture hall it was a— Dining room, yeah. So the cabbie let me off there and I noticed standing around in front were these really poorly dressed people, you know, like in short pants with hairy legs and dirty sweatshirts, and I recognized Watson and one of the other guys turned out to be Streisinger, and I felt kind of funny. Anyway I got into the swing of it.

Hamilton Smith is a U.S. microbiologist born Aug. 23, 1931, New York, N.Y. Smith received an A.B. degree in mathematics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1952 and the M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1956. After six years of clinical work in medicine (1956-1962), he carried out research on Salmonella phage P22 lysogeny at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1962-1967). In 1967, he joined the Microbiology Department at Johns Hopkins.

In 1968, he discovered the first TypeII restriction enzyme (HindII) and determined the sequence of its cleavage site. In, 1978 he was a co-recipient (with D. Nathans and W. Arber) of the Nobel in Medicine for this discovery.

He is currently the Scientific Director Synthetic Biology and Bioenergy Distinguished Professor at the J. Craig Venture Institute in Rockville, Maryland.