I was born in London, England during the great fog of 1952, but survived the coal-fueled air pollution with no ill effects and after less than a year in England was carried to Canada by my parents.
I do not know why I have always been fascinated by science or why I have been driven by the intense desire to make some original contribution. And although I have had some degree of success as a scientist, it is hard to say precisely why.
I remember in 1967, when there was that terrible fire on NASA's Apollo 1 rocket that killed three astronauts, my father made pure oxygen and we lit this tiny cup and burned it. Suddenly, we had an unbelievable jet and a fire. You just could see exactly what had happened.
What do cells do when they see a broken piece of DNA? Cells don't like such breaks. They'll do pretty much anything they can to fix things up. If a chromosome is broken, the cells will repair the break using an intact chromosome.
I have generally sought to work on questions that I thought were both interesting and approachable, yet not too widely appreciated. To struggle to make discoveries that would be made by others a short time later seems futile to me.
I greatly enjoy reading the biographies of scientists, and when doing so I always hope to learn the secrets of their success. Alas, those secrets generally remain elusive.
In my lab, we're interested in the transition from chemistry to early biology on the early earth.
The thing about the Nobel ceremony is that for a whole week, you get treated like a superstar. You get driven everywhere. You have minders who always make sure you get where you're going. And you always get into the back seat of the limo.
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