Meeting Frank Stahl
I probably wouldn’t have met Frank without Jim [Watson]… First, because I wouldn’t have gone to Woods Hole, but second because of an event involving Jim, Francis and Sydney Brenner. Sydney Brenner had come to visit and was wearing short pants, which was not something that Californians used to see commonly, so it’s always unusual to see a gentleman in short trousers. We were in Brewen, the brick building at Woods Hole, across from which is a street and there’s a lawn. And Frank Stahl was sitting under a tree on that lawn. Jim, I think it was Jim, sort of pointed out the window and said, “See that. That’s Frank Stahl. He thinks he’s pretty hot stuff. Why don’t we give him a really tough experiment and see what he can do with it. We’ll give him the Hershey-Chase blendor experiment and see if he can do it by himself in one afternoon.” So I thought—this is..the poor guy—ganging up on him is Francis and Sydney and Jim—they are all going to throw this hot potato at this poor guy. So I decided—I go down and meet him, both because Jim had said he was hot stuff and because I felt that somebody should warn him what was coming.
I went down there. Frank had bought lots of gin and tonic and limes and he was selling gin and tonic to people and would drink some himself with the profits… Well, Frank and I started talking about this experiment using heavy and light [nitrogen] to find out how DNA replicates and I learned that he was going to be at Caltech. We rented a house together from Caltech. Jan Drake moved in with us, later Howie Temin moved in, John Cairns was our dining partner, but didn’t sleep there. It was a wonderful time. It was just a great time.
*THIS MEMORY WAS EXTRACTED FROM A CSHL ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW*
Last edited by Marisa Macari : 11-29-2005 at 04:16 PM.