Kary's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Team Poor, Lazy Overachievers

KARY MULLIS

Nobel Prize Winning Chemist

“I'm not any one thing-I'm me. I'm the sum total of all the things that I'm interested in, and I'm interested in a lot.”

INTERESTS:

Education Science

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Education Experience Transitions Character Self-Reflection Values Goals Hard Work Passion Hobbies & Pastimes Choices Individualism Beliefs & Faith Fulfillment Opportunity Dedication Desire

FOUNDATION:

Helping People

BIOGRAPHY:

  • When he was a boy, he experimented with rocket fuel, sent a frog "into space."
  • Says he's still that little kid, with a passion for chemistry and inventing.
  • Went to UC Berkeley for his undergraduate through doctoral studies, then worked in a peptide chemistry lab in San Francisco.
  • Heard a lecturer say that they'd "fooled" a bacteria into making peptides; realized if bacteria could do it, he didn't want to learn how to make peptides.
  • Turned his vision towards artificially constructing strands of DNA.
  • Invented the Polymerase Chain Reaction, which allowed a small strand of DNA to be copied over and over.
  • Was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for that process.
  • After his Nobel Prize, it took him a while to figure out what to work on next-taught him there are many paths to go down, you shouldn't limit yourself to just one.

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