December 28, 1944 |
Lenoir, North Carolina, United States
|Alma mater||Georgia Institute of Technology (BS, 1966)
University of California, Berkeley (PhD, 1973)
|Thesis||Schizokinen: structure and synthetic work (1973)|
|Doctoral advisor||J.B. Neilands|
|Known for||Invention of polymerase chain reaction|
William Allan Award (1990)
Robert Koch Prize (1992)
Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1993)
Japan Prize (1993)
My mother would give my brothers and me a pile of catalogues and let us pick what we wanted for Christmas.
The horror of it is, every goddamn thing you look at seems pretty scary to me.
Do we care about these people that are HIV-positive whose lives have been ruined? Those are the people I'm the most concerned about. Every night I think about this.
The mystery of that damn virus has been generated by the $2 billion a year they spend on it.
Sometimes in the morning, when it's a good surf, I go out there, and I don't feel like it's a bad world.
Each of us have things and thoughts and descriptions of an amazing universe in our possession that kings in the 17th Century would have gone to war to possess.
In the 1950s in Columbia, South Carolina, it was considered OK for kids to play with weird things. We could go to the hardware store and buy 100 feet of dynamite fuse.
I've been writing about my boyhood, when I was a little kid back on my grandfather's farm where we didn't know about black widow spiders or all that stuff. But writing about that is so easy.
People don't realize that molecules themselves are somewhat hypothetical, and that their interactions are more so, and that the biological reactions are even more so.
You make observations, write theories to fit them, try experiments to disprove the theories and, if you can't, you've got something.
Natural DNA is a tractless coil, like an unwound and tangled audiotape on the floor of the car in the dark.
Science has not been successful by making up explanations of things that fit with the current social fabric.
I went to high school in Columbia. I met my first wife, Richards, whom I married while I was working on a B.S. in chemistry at Georgia Tech. She bore Louise, and I studied. I learned most of the useful technical things – math, physics, chemistry – that I now use during those four years.
If reincarnation is a useful biological idea it is certain that somewhere in the universe it will happen.
We are the recipients of scientific method. We can each be a creative and active part of it if we so desire.
People realize this man knows what the hell's going on and nobody else does.
You can't ask your pharmacist to stock larger quantities of potassium nitrate because you want to make a bigger rocket.
Scientists are doing an awful lot of damage to the world in the name of helping it. I don't mind attacking my own fraternity because I am ashamed of it.
My grandfather milked several cows twice a day and supplied the neighbours with dairy products. He liked to go visiting around the county on Saturdays, and he also enjoyed the neighbours when they came by once a week with their empty milk jars. He walked them out to their cars and hung over the driver's side window until they drove off.
My father, Cecil Banks Mullis, and mother, formerly Bernice Alberta Barker, grew up in rural North Carolina in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. My dad's family had a general store, which I never saw. My grandparents on his side had already died before I started noticing things.
We were fortunate to have the Russians as our childhood enemies. We practiced hiding under our desks in case they had the temerity to drop a nuclear weapon.
I can say exactly what I feel about any issue, and I'm going to do that.
Until I was five, my immediate family lived near my grandfather's farm where my mother had grown up and, with the exception of a few modern conveniences, had not changed a lot over the years.
It's not blaming the victim. It's not anybody's fault. They just did something that didn't work, that's all.
Science consistently produces a new crop of miraculous truths and dazzling devices every year.
My mother often mailed me articles from 'Reader's Digest' about advances in DNA chemistry. No matter how I tried to explain it to her, she never grasped the concept that I could have been writing those articles, that something I had invented made most of those DNA discoveries possible.
Here's a bunch of people practising a new set of behavioural norms. Apparently it didn't work because a lot of them got sick. That's the conclusion. You don't necessarily know why it happened. But you start there.