Recorded: 22 Jul 2003
In ’46 and ’47 just after the war. I was a Rockefeller Fellow in Cambridge. Involved with a very uninteresting professor but I got to know Max [Delbruck] and we spent time together and this was just the beginning of the hopes for protein structure. And I think that that was the primary stimulant that got me started on the course that I’ve followed. And apart from that he has been such a wonderful influence in the whole development of molecular biology. And so quietly guided the development without any egomania of any kind. And in his latter years learning to great essays and books. It was a great career. I couldn’t help but envy it.
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.