Paul Doty on Harvard Center for Science & International Affairs
  Paul Doty     Biography    
Recorded: 22 Jul 2003

Well, I think that in 1973 I worked out an agreement with McGeorge Bundy who was then president of the Ford Foundation to get a large grant and create here a Center for Science and International Affairs. And that has grown and is located in the Kennedy School now. It is expanded too much in my view, but it was a training ground for a whole generation of people who have had some science training and they have gone into government and very useful positions. So I’m pleased at that. But it was—it took time and the product is not identified with me but with the people who got their training there. And I’m quite satisfied with that. Now it’s gotten very big, over one hundred people so it’s perhaps too diverse, but of course times have changed also.

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.