Don Caspar on Jim Watson, Public Figure
  Don Caspar     Biography    
Recorded: 01 Jan 2001

What we sort of recollect, sort of speculation… I think Jim’s speculation as to who was going to play him in the movies… And his appearance in Vogue magazine in, what was it, 1956 that he became a public figure. Yeah, even before The Double Helix, he’s used his position as a public figure I think to exert some very, very positive influences, lets say, with the Human Genome Project and then here as director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and transforming it from what it had been. Again…when I first met Jim, Cold Spring Harbor was sort of the point between Pasadena and Cambridge, England. And with the phage group—but everybody had connections here, you know, when he decided to abandon Harvard and come here, it did seem like a very logical, logical move.

Donald Caspar, structural biologist and crystallographer, is a professor emeritus of Biological Sciences at the Institute of Molecular Biophysics at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida and is also a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Born on January 8, 1927, he received his B.A. in Physics from Cornell University in 1950, and his his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Yale University in 1955. Caspar is interested in protein adaptability, virus assembly, protein plasticity and x-ray diffraction. He currently researches the mechanics of protein movements by executing structural studies.

He has attended many symposia at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, starting in 1961, and worked with Watson at Caltech and Harvard. He is a member of the National Academy of Science. Dr. Casper is a long-time friend and colleague of Dr. James D. Watson as well as many of the early pioneers in molecular biology, including Dr. Rosalind Franklin.