Hamilton Smith on Memories of CSHL
  Hamilton Smith     Biography    
Recorded: 03 Mar 2006

Wonderful place. I wish they’d given me a job. Anyway, you know, I went to the phage meetings every year, religiously (???). And it was just incredible. You were meeting, in the beginning, only maybe 50 or 60 people, but they were all the key players in the field. You’d read their papers, you were actually talking to them; just an incredible experience. Al Hershey? Yeah, but not – he was up here and I was sort of – you know. Well, Al Hershey always sat in the meetings – he was kind of a skinny guy, and he always sat like this. [Laughter] Anyway. Delbrück – actually, I didn’t really see him very often. I don’t recall him specifically. I don’t think he went very often after ’62 or so, he kind of dropped out of the picture. In the 40s and 50s he was the key figure. By the time I was there he didn’t really show up.

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.