J. Craig Venter

Can the guy who just barely graduated from high school become one of the world’s 100 most influential people?

Well, it doesn’t very often, to be sure. But that is the short version of the story of Dr. J. Craig Venter, who led the first draft sequence of the human genome some 20 years ago,

Venter founded the company Celera Genomics, which found itself in a very publicized race with the international Human Genome Project to produce that map.

And by summer 2000, Venter was a VIP guest at a White House announcement featuring President Clinton, British prime minister Tony Blair, and a host of other high-level dignitaries.

Venter was widely hailed around the world as a leading figure in the scientific community .

In 2007, Venter wrote his autobiography, a book called A Life Decoded. And that’s what I met him.

So here now, from 2007, Dr. J. Craig venter.

J. Craig Venter is 75 now. He lives in California.

Oh, and if he was curious as to why he was always such a poor student, Venter later discovered that he had a genetic marker for ADHD.

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James Watson

Nobel laureate Dr. James D. Watson, Chancellor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

In 1953, an earnest and ambitious 25-year-old scientist nmaed James Watson made a groundbreaking discovery that helped revolutionize science, medicine, even the law.

Working alongside Francis Crick, Watson identified the double-helix structure of DNA.

That breakthrough earned Watson and Crick the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1962. Watson wrote a book explaining the double helix.

I met him in 2002, when he published another book, which he called “Genes, Girls, and Gamow.” That was a reference to George Gamow, a pioneering theoretical physicist who contributed to, and built on, Watson and crick’s work.
From the moment I met him, Watson won me over with his warmth, humanity, and roll sense of humor.

So here now, from 2002, James Watson.

James Watson celebrated his 93rd birthday last week. We’re not sure if you ever got an email account.