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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In my lab, we're interested in the transition from chemistry to early biology on the early earth.
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.