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So you might have read the previous entry about the visit to see the first thermalcycler "Mr Cycle" at the Smithsonian. You haven't? No problem, I'll wait while you jump over to have a read . . . .
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I mentioned to Mallory (who kindly showed me the items) about the invention of qPCR and the original apparatus. Upon leaving, I contacted the person involved in those early days (including the photo of myself with Mr Cycle) and he replied back about how Mr Cycle had been on the bench next to him when he joined Cetus. Unfortunately the original qPCR apparatus had been disbanded - as he wrote "It was really just a light stand, a camera, a thermocycler, a light source and a PCR brought together"
A trip to the USA last year was a a chance to mix business with pleasure. Usually these are two separate entities but one that combined both occurred on a trip to the Smithsonian Institute (American History Museum) in Washington. While Belinda headed off to see the First Ladies' dresses, I was lucky enough to head behind the scenes to a particular storeroom in the Smithsonian. This in itself is not particularly exciting since the Smithsonian only has a fraction of its items on display at any one time so must have more storerooms than display rooms!
A revelation comes in different forms. "Eureka!" called Archimedes and ran through the street naked.
"Holy shit" said Kary Mullis in 1983 and pulled over to the side of the road he was driving on (although the word 'naked' does appear in the title of his autobiography). Mullis had just conceived the concept of the polymerase chain reaction or as better known to us all as PCR.