I am old enough (born in 1943) and the field of molecular biology is young enough (it too was born in 1943) that I lived through the entire history of the transformation in our understanding of the nature of the genetic material. Also, I have been fortunate to have known many of the scientists who wrought the revolution in our understanding of how living things work, and I feel a personal connection to the transformation this revolution has wrought.
Students will learn the history of this chapter in science and read and discuss the landmark papers from the birth of the field until just over three decades later. By the late 1970s the new tools of recombinant DNA, the Polymerase Chain Reaction, and DNA sequencing opened a vast array of new frontiers in biology and biotechnology. And, if all goes well, a few of the historic figures in the field will join some of the classes to help put their discoveries in perspective. I have been fascinated by this remarkable chapter in the history science my entire career, and, having taught molecular biology for half a century, I am excited at long last to teach a course on how it came into existence.