Recorded: 04 Jun 2001
Jim is a very good writer, but he had to be criticized a little bit in the beginning because when writing your first book you are doing something you haven’t been accustomed to doing before. The Double Helix was really a good book. Jim's father was sometimes coming to me and saying Jim is sometimes saying some terrible things in the book. In fact Jim was probably alright, and his father was sensitive about what could happen to his poor son. Jim was quite careful about what he would say about people, he just seemed very rough at one time, but by the time it became The Double Helix he had rearranged his language.
Alfred Tissières was a biologist, biochemist and geneticist. He received his Ph.D. from Cambridge for his work at the Molteno Institute and subsequently did postdoctoral work on respiratory enzymes at Caltech under Max Delbruck.
Soon after returning to Cambridge, Watson suggested he come to Harvard to work on microsomal particles in E. coli.
At Harvard, Tissières and Jim discovered that ribosomes were made of two unequal pieces, each containing protein and RNA. Tissieres began a professorship at the University of Geneva where his laboratory has become prominent in the field of ribosome research.
Alfred first attended a symposium at Cold Spring Harbor in 1961 and when Jim Watson became director, Tissières would regularly visit with his family during the summer.