Sydney Brenner on Jim Watson: Traveling the U.S.A
  Sydney Brenner     Biography    
Recorded: 10 Jun 2002

I spent—I traveled through the whole of America with Jim, in that year, ’54. It’s in his book [Genes, Girls, and Gamow: After the Double Helix]. We went—we drove from Cold Spring Harbor after the meeting. We went to Yale to meet Jim’s uncle who was a professor of physics.

We then went to Boston where we stayed in the house that [Boris] Ephrussi was going to do, except there was a hurricane there, and we didn’t know there was a hurricane. I kept on saying to Jim, “Does it always—I mean, isn’t this rain a bit much?” you know, especially when I saw a church had been blown down. And that’s—we landed up—we met Alex Rich there, I think, yes. Alex had come there at the time. No, Alex—sorry, forgive me, he wasn’t there. This [was] Paul Doty we met there. And then I went with Jim and we stayed with Ernst Mayr in New Hampshire. And then from New Hampshire we went to Chicago where we stayed with Jim’s family for a few days. We then went to Indiana, where I met Luria for the first time and Ed Lennox, and then all the way to Pasadena where I stayed for a week or so.

Sydney Brenner is a pioneer in the field of molecular biology. He was born in South Africa in 1927 and received his Ph.D. from Oxford University in 1954. From 1979 to 1986 he served as Director of the Medical Research Council Laboratory for Molecular Biology and from 1986 to 1991, as the Director of the Medical Research Council Laboratory Molecular Genetics Unit, both in Cambridge, England.

Since 1996 he has been the President and Director of Science at the Molecular Sciences Institute in La Jolla and Berkeley. Brenner was honored as a Distinguished Research Professor at the Salk Institute in La Jolla in 2000.

In 2002 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine with Dr. John Sulston and Dr. Robert Horvitz “for their discoveries concerning ‘genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death’” studying the organism C. elegans.