As a child, I lived with being punier than other boys in class. The only consolation was my parents' empathy - they encouraged constant trips to the local drugstore for chocolate milk shakes to fatten me up. The shakes made me happy, but still, all through grammar school, other kids shoved me around.
I was always very curious about what a scientist's life was like when I was young. Of course, when I was young, you didn't have very many opportunities to find out with no web, TV. I was very lucky: I was born in the city of Chicago and went to the University of Chicago where I actually saw things.
If we could honestly promise young couples that we knew how to give them offspring with superior character, why should we assume they would decline? Common sense tells us that if scientists find ways to greatly improve human capabilities, there will no stopping the public from happily seizing them.
If someone's liver doesn't work, we blame it on the genes; if someone's brain doesn't work properly, we blame the school. It's actually more humane to think of the condition as genetic. For instance, you don't want to say that someone is born unpleasant, but sometimes that might be true.
An idea can be tested, whereas if you have no idea, nothing can be tested and you don't understand anything. The molecule that you make when you are getting sunburned or when you eat a lot of food is part of the same molecule that contains an endorphin or an opiate. No one has ever had a hypothesis about why the two are together.
I have an odd theory on happiness, and it bothers people. My general theory is that happiness is a reward for an animal doing what it should be doing. So if a horse runs, it feels happy. Or if you are too thin, you can't be happy, because evolution wants you to be tense and anxious, trying to wake up in the morning looking for food.
Here at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, we have genetically rearranged various viruses and bacteria as part of our medical research. In fact, we have been able to create entirely new types of DNA molecules by splicing together the genetic information from different organisms - recombinant DNA.
The ever quickening advances of science made possible by the success of the Human Genome Project will also soon let us see the essences of mental disease. Only after we understand them at the genetic level can we rationally seek out appropriate therapies for such illnesses as schizophrenia and bipolar disease.
My parents made it clear that I should never display even the slightest disrespect to individuals who had the power to let me skip a half grade or move into more challenging classes. While it was all right for me to know more about a topic than my sixth-grade teacher had ever learned, questioning her facts could only lead to trouble.
I started doing science when I was effectively 20, a graduate student of Salvador Luria at Indiana University. And that was - you know, it took me about two years, you know, being a graduate student with Luria deciding I wanted to find the structure of DNA; that is, DNA was going to be my objective.