Paul Doty on Peter Kapitza
  Paul Doty     Biography    
Recorded: 22 Jul 2003

Oh, Kapitza. Well, that’s a different scene. But somehow we got on together about 1960. And so every time I went to Moscow I would go to his house and got to know him very well and his wife Anna. Long walks in ________. And again a person of great curiosity and a sort of quiet revolutionary. He did certainly revolt against Stalin and had a period of house arrest and so on. But he was—I wish there were more like him in Russia. It would have been a different country. They were very good friends with Sakarov, of course. That was a great period.

Paul Doty (1920-2011), biophysical chemist and activist was an emeritus professor at Harvard University in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and in the Kennedy School of Government. He was also founder of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. Experimenting with isotope separation as a graduate student at Columbia University, he became an advocate for nuclear war prevention. Subsequently, he served as a consultant to the President’s Science Advisory Committee and as a member of the President’s Arms Control Advisory Group.

Doty’s scientific research is focused on elucidating the structure and function of large molecules by optical methods. Responsible for hybridizing single strands of DNA to reform an active double-stranded molecule, his laboratory work helped provide the basis for DNA recombination.

Doty met Jim in 1952 in Cambridge. Four years later he had encouraged Jim to join the Harvard Faculty. Their combined insight and innovation was crucial in determining the fate of the newly created molecular biology department. Doty remained on the Harvard Faculty for over forty-two years.