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Scientific Staff The Laboratory has been home to many scientists in fields ranging from genetics to neuroscience to bioinformatics. As a visiting or resident researcher at CSHL, what experiences are your most memorable?

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Old 07-04-2007, 08:25 PM
Phil Harriman Phil Harriman is offline
Location: Rohnert Park, California
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 0
Default Al Hershey's kindness

In 1966 I joined John Cairns' lab as a postdoc. There were relatively few labs at CSH at the time: John's (he was Director at the time), Joe Speyer's, Paul Margolin's,
Barbara McClintock's, and Al Hershey's. One experiment I wanted to do involved getting as much radioactive phosphorous (P32) into E. coli's chromosome as possible (as it would decay the bacteria would "suicide", something I worked on in Gunther Stent's lab as a graduate student). As I was entering our building's men's room, I ran into Al Hershey, who was headed in the same direction. I asked him if he could give me some advice on how to best do it, remembering that he had used P32 to label phage DNA in the famous Waring Blender experiment. He didn't say anything and turned on his heels and walked away. This discouraged me, and after visiting the restroom I returned to my lab bench in Cairn's lab. About a half hour later Al walked into the lab and up to my bench, put down a couple bottles of reagents and handwritten instructions on how to use them to get the highest specific activity, and walked away without saying anything! A strange guy, but more helpful than you might imagine.
Phil Harriman
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