April 2nd, afternoon, Dr. Watson arrived at the studio of SCU’s Wangjiang Campus,made a keynote speech titled Science·Cooperation·Life and communicated with SCU’s students.President Xie, on behalf of SCU, granted the certificate of SCU’s honorary professor to Dr. Watson, and the “Father of DNA” became a member of SCU. The students on site greeted with the warmest applauses Dr. Watson’s official joining, who is expected to help the SCU to build itself into a world-class university.
In his speech President Xie remarked that the visit of Dr. Watson and his brilliant speech can not only offer us more insight into the latest frontier knowledge and development tendency of bioscience research, but broaden our innovative thinking and research vision to explore academic frontier. He expected that there could be an opportunity to establish a “Watson Precision Medical Center” in SCU as well as in Chengdu together with Dr. Watson, and jointly launch precision treatment of cancer based on genome and life health big data, so as to make greater contributions to the solution of major medical puzzles and the enhancement of human well-being.
James Watson Delivers a Keynote Speech to Share His Experiences during His Life
Amidst the warm applause, Dr. Watson delivered a keynote speech titled “Science·Cooperation·Life”. During the lecture, Dr. Watson shared with the students his personal experience accumulated in reading and researches. He believes that “reading” is the foundation for learning knowledge and making innovation; “having a goal” is the precondition of a successful career; “a strong enterprising spirit” is the impetus for engaging in scientific researches; and “working with excellent people” is the key to success.
According to Dr. Watson, he doesn't talk that much, while instead he spends half of everyday reading, as he thinks books are more exciting than people, and reading can help generate inspirations. By reading, a person can not only accumulate knowledge, but also motivate and exercise thinking.
“You should only spend much time with someone who does something better than you”, said Dr. Watson, “and always have someone you can learn from”; for a successful career, one must learn from people who are smarter, and learn how to work with other people; and a great team is critical to the success of research. Citing his own story, he attributed the discovery of the DNA double helix structure to his cooperation with Mr. Crick, plus the guidance from many outstanding professors.
Particularly, Dr. Watson highlighted the importance of family education and school education to personal growth. He believes the most important trait of a great university is its cultural inheritance. Beyond formulas, the university teachers should guide students, teach them culture, ideas, and spirit that will benefit students through life. He added that, the happy time he spent and the quality education he received in the University of Chicago laid a foundation for his success, and the most important things taught by the university were culture and thinking training; meanwhile, his family, since his childhood, taught him culture, and gave him a desire for success, which later became a strong impetus for him.
Communicate with SCU’s Students and Encourage Them to Overcome the World’s Science Conundrums
After the lecture, the teachers and students present had a dialogue with Prof. Watson on such questions as “How to read scientific journals and write scientific papers?”, “What kind of research system should be established by the developing countries?”, “How to grow into an excellent scientist?”, and “What is the necessary personality for a scientist?”
Prof. Watson commented that the person who wants to become a scientist must dedicate himself/herself to thinking about and researching on major issues, and the key to success lies in a vision to discover key problems and unremitting efforts. In his words, Sichuan University is a great university which provides students with great research facilities, thus the students should take full advantage of the university’s quality resources, learn from distinguished professors, study hard, concentrate on researches, and join hands to overcome series of world-class science conundrums such as cancer.
When one student asked about “What is the most important personality for a scientist”, Prof. Watson tastily answered: “Do not be selfish”. He holds the opinion that, as a scientist, one has to spend more time with smart people, learn to cooperate with others, respect others’ wisdom and achievements, and acknowledge others’ contributions; only by making friends with the people better than self can one learn from other people and make continuous progress.
During the whole lecture, Prof. Watson was sometimes humorous, sometimes straightforward, sometimes contemplative, and sometimes laughing heartily, and his speech was greeted with bursts of laughter and applause. After the lecture, SCU’s students said that it was exciting and honorable for them to see the legendary person in textbooks deliver a report in our university and serve as our honorary professor. Huang Cheng, a postdoctor in SCU’s State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, expressed that, “the dialogue with such a great scientist as Prof. Watson gives us a great inspiration, especially for me at the beginning of my research career; it further steadies our ideal and belief in concentrating on scientific researches and serving our nation”.
The lecture was chaired by Wei Yuquan, Vice President of SCU, and attended by Zhou Xuedong, Vice Chairman of SCU University Council, Yan Shijing, Vice President of SCU, Liu Ruyin, CEO of Cheerland Investment Group, and Lan Xinguo, former Chairman of Sichuan Airlines Group, as well as over 500 teachers and students of SCU.
It is learned that one of the important goals of this visit is to facilitate the settle-down of “Watson Precision Medical Center” in China. On the afternoon of April 2nd, right before the lecture, the delegation led by Watson made a special visit to SCU’s State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy for a negotiation on cooperation issues. As a core unit of Major Special Project for “Significant New Drugs Development”, a national comprehensive new drugs R & D platform, the State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy has set up a series of key technology platforms ranging from gene discovery to drugs R & D, pilot production and clinical treatment. In 2013, the Biotherapy Collaborative Innovation Center headed by SCU, with the State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy as the core unit, was listed in the first batch of national “Collaborative Innovation Center 2011”. In 2015, the State Key Laboratory of Biotherapy, as a core unit, was approved by the state to establish “National Major Science and Technology Infrastructure for Translational Medicine (National Biotherapy Translational Medicine Center)”.
James Dewey Watson
Dr. James Watson is one of the most notable scientists in the 20th century, and one of the most influential scientists in today’s world as well.
As the discoverer of DNA’s double helix structure, Dr. Watson was awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and was reputed as “Einstein in the Field of Bioscience” and the “Father of DNA”.
Dr. Watson is also the founder and flag-bearer of molecular biology, as well as the first director of Human Genome Project. In his nearly 70-year career, he promoted the development of biology towards molecular biology and biomedicine, and built the Harvard University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) into global powerhouses in that field successively.
Since early 1980s, Dr. Watson has visited China for several times, offering help to a host of Chinese scientists of different ages, including Tan Jiazhen, Wang Yinglai, Li Zaiping, and Chen Zhu; meanwhile, he invited and sponsored a great number of Chinese students and scholars to join in Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory or other institutions for further education, thus having made remarkable contributions to the cultivation of Chinese high-caliber talents in the domain of bioscience. In recent years, he has been absorbed in the research of cancer treatments, in the belief that rather than DNA sequencing, only the combination of biology and chemistry can find a way to really cure cancer. He hopes the Watson Bioscience Laboratory to be built could guide Chinese specialists in the field of biochemistry to conduct far-reaching bioscience researches, and better facilitate the discovery of solutions to cure cancer.