Paul Doty on Jim Watson & Francis Crick
  Paul Doty     Biography    
Recorded: 22 Jul 2003

Crick was here as a visiting professor in the chemistry department. In I think about ’57 or so. And so we were all together then. And they were a very good influence in each other, but as you see they have a different temperament and a different vision of how they should spend the rest of their lives. So they grew apart as they once grew together.

I think that although Crick was older he had not academic experience and so in terms of experience they were sort of the same age in that a mentor was not part of the relationship. But it did click.

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.