Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science

Avoid Boring People: Lessons from a Life in Science

Language: English

Pages: 368

ISBN: 0375727140

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

From Nobel Prize-winning scientist James D. Watson, a living legend for his work unlocking the structure of DNA, comes this candid and entertaining memoir, filled with practical advice for those starting out their academic careers.
In Avoid Boring People, Watson lays down a life’s wisdom for getting ahead in a competitive world. Witty and uncompromisingly honest, he shares his thoughts on how young scientists should choose the projects that will shape their careers, the supreme importance of collegiality, and dealing with competitors within the same institution. It’s an irreverent romp through Watson’s colorful career and an indispensable guide to anyone interested in nurturing the life of the mind.













caucus felt semivictorious when a broadly constituted committee, including several students, voted for the temporary expulsion of only ten students, those known to have manhandled administrators during the April 9 takeover. Those in the conservative caucus had wanted many more students held accountable and for the sanction to be severe, ideally permanent expulsion. Exacerbating the spring tensions was an emerging political activism among many of Harvard's black students. Two months before, the

students or postdocs, consider it a lucky break and just do it. Conversely, never ask advice from someone with an outlook on science alien to your own; people they recommend will share their values, not yours. 6. Use your endowment to support science, not for long-term salary support Generally, a bare minimum of any research institution's funds should go to salaries for older scientists. Under normal funding circumstances, those who have remained successful invariably get adequate

than the secretary of agriculture. Later as we drove toward the vast cotton fields of the still British-owned Delta and Pine cotton plantation near Greenville, the homes of the “hoe-hands” who weeded the cotton fields struck me as even more run-down than the dwellings bordering the rice paddies of Cambodia that I had visited two years earlier. Later the Delta and Pine official showing us around his vast domain remarked that his farm laborers lazily stopped hoeing every time his car passed out of

separation, this doubting chatter went silent after the 1958 Meselson-Stahl experiment demonstrated that very phenomenon. Certainly the Swedish Academy had no doubt as to the correctness of the double helix when they awarded Arthur Kornberg half of the 1959 Physiology or Medicine prize for experiments demonstrating enzymatic synthesis of DNA. When photographed shortly after learning of his Nobel, a beaming Kornberg held a copy of our demonstration DNA model in his hands. As the October 18 date

for such objections seems to have been established in any case. Some months before, at a party dominated by Harvard Law students, a recent law school graduate told me that he was reading my manuscript for Ropes and Grey, Harvard's Boston lawyers, explaining that he had no past experience with libel matters. Once I learned that HUP was out, Joyce Leibowitz suggested I retain as my personal counsel the New York lawyer Ephraim London. A greatly respected legal scholar, Eph had successfully argued

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