Recorded: 04 Aug 2003
Well, I was very honored. I used to absolutely love going because I loved to watch Jim in action. And just watch him interact with these people. That’s just incredible. I mean there’s one other person that I remember—that I’ve loved to watch in action, one other one, Lennart Phillipson, who is—for quite some time the head of the EMBO lab: The European Molecular Biology Lab in Heidelberg. And in a very, very different way when I was on their board of scientific advisors, I used to love to watch him interact with his other European scientist. And the way, of course, the European scientists interacts with other scientist is much different from the way an American scientists does. So that was the one other experience. But I mean—Lennart compared to Jim is nothing in terms of the sort of intellectual power that’s brought just to very simple things. All of a sudden they’re crystal clear or you learn some new fact. But just watching how he did it was just—loved it.
Joan Steitz is a prominent molecular biologist who earned her Ph.D. under Jim Watson at Harvard University in 1967. She joined the faculty at Yale University in 1970 and is currently the Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and the Director of the Molecular Genetics Program at the Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine at Yale. She is also an Investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Steitz’s research involves determining the structure and function of small RNA-protein complexes.
She has received numerous awards including the National Medal of Science (1986), the Weizmann Women and Science Award (1994), the Novartis Drew Award in Biomedical Research (1999), the UNESCO-L'Oréal Women in Science Award (2001), and the Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research (2002).