Bruce Stillman on Stories About Jim Watson
  Bruce Stillman     Biography    
Recorded: 14 Aug 2003

Well—Jim and me. Well, despite the fact that we’ve had a very close professional life we actually haven't had a close social life. And we’re neighbors. I think partly that was because when I first came to the [Cold Spring Harbor] Laboratory I was relatively determined to have a social life outside of the Laboratory. And I still do that. Actually it’s one of the things that I think keeps one sane a little bit. It gives me an outlet, with my wife, Grace. So we haven't socialized a lot [with Jim Watson.] I have had a lot of conversations with Jim, and I value those a lot, about all sorts of things from family and science and people. Jim is a famous gossip. And he’s told lots of stories, none of which I am going to repeat. But that's part of what I admire or like about Jim.

Actually, Jim likes people and he likes celebrities and he likes rich people. One story that he told me which was actually—I think it was the 75th anniversary of Time Magazine. They had a big dinner in New York. They’d invited people who had been on the cover of Time Magazine. And Jim was actually speaking at that event and had chosen to speak about Linus Pauling. I think Jim feels that Linus Pauling was perhaps one of the most influential scientists that he knew. And Jim was excited about that. He was running around telling everybody because he was going to sit at a table with Bill Gates and Sharon Stone. He was excited because Bill Gates is very rich and Sharon Stone is a celebrity and beautiful. But actually I remember after [the event], that I asked him how it was and he said, Oh he didn’t think Sharon Stone was very nice, but that he got on well with Bill Gates' wife because he was sitting with her.

Molecular biologist and biochemist, Bruce Stillman, received his Ph.D. from the John Curtain School of Medical Research at the Australian National University in 1979. His long affiliation with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory began in 1979 when he arrived as a postdoctoral fellow. He became a member of the scientific staff (1981), Senior Scientist (1985), Assistant Director (1990), Director and Chief Executive Officer (1994), and President (2003), the position he currently holds. Stillman has also been Director of the Cancer Center at CSHL since 1992.

His research concerns DNA replication, yeast genetics, cell cycle and chromatin structure. His work has elucidated the reason why DNA sequences and silenced states of chromatin are pass through generations. His lab is concerned with understanding the mechanisms and regulation of DNA replication in eukaryotic cells, a process that ensures accurate duplication and inheritance of genetic material from one cell generation to the next.

Bruce Stillman has received numerous awards and honors and research awards. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society (1993), and as a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (2000).