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.
I never could read science fiction. I was just uninterested in it. And you know, I don't like to read novels where the hero just goes beyond what I think could exist. And it doesn't interest me because I'm not learning anything about something I'll actually have to deal with.
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 wife and I have a schizophrenic son. We didn't want to accept this for 30 years, so we put him under great pressure when we shouldn't have. He just wanted to be looked after, and we didn't respect that. We tried to make him independent.
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.
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.
We should govern our actions by assuming that people are more good than bad. Whereas, most of our social policies dictate that people are more bad than good. That you know if you do something, it'll be seized by the rich to exploit the poor.
I first became aware of Charles Darwin and evolution while still a schoolboy growing up in Chicago. My father and I had a passion for bird-watching, and when the snow or the rain kept me indoors, I read his bird books and learned about evolution.
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.
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.
I do think one success of Northern Europe, which the United States came from, was its willingness to accept innovation in business practices like Adam Smith and the whole Enlightenment. It essentially made the merchant class free instead of controlled by the king and aristocracy. That was essential.
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.
I have a son, who is a... not an ordinary form of schizophrenia, but clearly, cannot take care of himself. And the great fear of then, of all parents is, when the parents die, who takes care of your child? And the answer is: they become homeless.
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.
Ever since we achieved a breakthrough in the area of recombinant DNA in 1973, left-wing nuts and environmental kooks have been screaming that we will create some kind of Frankenstein bug or Andromeda Strain that will destroy us all.
One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.
Moving forward will not be for the faint of heart. But if the next century witnesses failure, let it be because our science is not yet up to the job, not because we don't have the courage to make less random the sometimes most unfair courses of human evolution.
Every time you understand something, religion becomes less likely. Only with the discovery of the double helix and the ensuing genetic revolution have we had grounds for thinking that the powers held traditionally to be the exclusive property of the gods might one day be ours. . . .
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.
I had become monomaniacal about DNA only in 1951 when I had just turned 23 and as a postdoctoral fellow was temporarily in Naples attending a small May meeting on biologically important macromolecules.
Spotting a rare bird is never worth the bite of a cur. Once bitten by a German shepherd, I knew that I preferred cats, even if they are bird-killers. Life is long enough for more than one chance at a rare bird.
One-third of all female infertility is the result of blocked fallopian tubes. If fertilization could be done in the lab and then the fertilized egg implanted in the womb, it would get around that problem. Millions of women who cannot have children would suddenly be able to.
I don't want 100 different cures of cancer. I want, you know, give me five. So if you had, you know, five medicines, you could do away with 90 percent of cancer. That's sort of my objective. I think we're going to do it.
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.
If you go into science, I think you better go in with a dream that maybe you, too, will get a Nobel Prize. It's not that I went in and I thought I was very bright and I was going to get one, but I'll confess, you know, I knew what it was.
It is extraordinary the extent to which Darwin's insights not only changed his contemporaries' view of the world but also continue to be a source of great intellectual stimulation for scientists and nonscientists alike.
If you accept that people are the products of evolution, then you have to have an open mind to the truth. Unfair discrimination exists whether we like it or not; I wouldn't have married a gum-chewing vegetarian.
Great wealth could make an enormous difference over the next decade if they sensibly support the scientific elite. Just the elite. Because the elite makes most of the progress. You should worry about people who produce really novel inventions, not pedantic hacks.