Kary Banks Mullis (born December 28, 1944) is a Nobel Prize-winning American biochemist. He invented a technique that vastly improved the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Moment of insight
He had his moment of insights on a Friday night (perhaps May 13, 1983). At the time, he was an employee of Cetus. He was driving on California Highway 128 in the Coast Range north of San Francisco between Cloverdale and Booneville in Mendocino County. His girlfriend, Jennifer Barnett, was asleep in the passenger seat. He was thinking about oligonucleotides. He stopped at mile marker 46,7 and did the math on paper. He had several more insights and this soon led him to the idea of PCR.
Mullis switched from using DNA to a plasmid and his first successful demonstration of PCR occurred on December 16, 1983.
PCR has improved detection in my areas of application, including research and law enforcement.
After learning that he won the Nobel Prize, Mullis went surfing. He later engaged in much speculation on science, saying that his Nobel Prize was a basis for contact the scientists of his choosing.