Paul Doty on Jim Watson, Harvard: Getting Tenure
  Paul Doty     Biography    
Recorded: 22 Jul 2003

Well, I think that the period about his—in the early sixties he was extremely upset when after getting the Nobel Prize he didn’t get any rise in salary. In those days you were usually getting one thousand dollars salary increase each year. That very year that he got the prize he didn’t get any. So that upset him. And he made quite a noise about that. And I think it woke up the dean on that matter. He—then I think that most people would have let it slide, but he thought it was an injustice and he did not hesitate to make that clear. Then when his tenure—when he was up for tenure he ran into this obstacle. Ed Wilson was essentially the same level, but had gotten an offer for tenure from Stanford. So the department wanted to give tenure to Wilson, but Bundy with some encouragement insisted that they be treated together and that was a very difficult period. But ultimately the—it did occur that they went to tenure together. And of course initially as you know they were—like matter and anti-matter, the dislike of each of them for the other was quite remarkable. But in the end it got quite different and they like each other.

When Wilson heard Jim was going to go to Cold Spring Harbor his comment was, “I wouldn’t put him in charge of a lemonade stand.” And he had to retract that.

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.