Skip to main content

Nancy Hopkins, 2001-04-09

 Item — Box: AV06, Hi8: CSHL1259
Oral History | Nancy Hopkins
Oral History | Nancy Hopkins

Scope and Contents

Nancy Hopkins recounts the enormous influence Jim Watson had on her choice of career and the path it has taken, his impact as a science educator and mentor to many, and as a friend. Other scientific heroes remembered are Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Barbara McClintock. As a leading voice in the field of gender equity issues in science, Hopkins speaks about her experiences as a women scientist, her efforts to institutionalize change surrounding gender equity at MIT, and her observations and hopes for the furture of gender equity.

Nancy Hopkins discusses the following in her interview: Scene 1. Becoming a biologist -- Scene 2. Career path -- Scene 3. Jim Watson, first impression -- Scene 4. Harvard research with Jim Watson -- Scene 5. Jim Watson, mentor -- Scene 6. Jim Watson, teacher and colleague -- Scene 7. Jim Watson, friend -- Scene 8. Jim Watson, personality -- Scene 9. Jim Watson, celebrity -- Scene 10. Jim Watson, scientist -- Scene 11. Jim Watson, writer -- Scene 12. Jim Watson, writer: "Molecular biology of the gene" -- Scene 13. Jim and Liz Watson -- Scene 14. The Watson family -- Scene 15. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory -- Scene 16. Changes in graduate education over time -- Scene 17. Scientific heroes -- Scene 18. Christiane (Janni) Nüsslein-Volhard -- Scene 19. Barbara McClintock -- Scene 20. Women in science: recognizing inequalities -- Scene 21. Women in science: responding to inequalities -- Scene 22. Women in science: the future of gender equity.


  • Creation: 2001-04-09


Conditions Governing Access

Portions of this collection have been digitized and are available online: Select tapes have been digitized thanks to support from CLIR Recordings at Risk Grant awarded in 2021, these tapes are available for research online via our Oral History Website and in person at CSHL Archives. Please contact CSHL Archives with any questions regarding availability.

Biographical / Historical

Nancy Hopkins, a developmental biologist and the Amgen, Inc. Professor of Biology at MIT, was born in New York City in 1943. After graduating from Radcliffe College (B.A. 1964) she received a PhD. from Harvard University (1971) while working in the labs of Jim Watson and Mark Ptashne. As a postdoctoral fellow she moved to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where she continued working under Watson researching DNA tumor viruses. In 1973 she joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor in the Center for Cancer Research, where she researched the mechanisms of replication and leukemogenesis by RNA tumor viruses for 17 years. Her lab, subsequently, worked on tools for zebrafish research and they identified 25% of genes that are necessary for a fertilized zebrafish egg to develop into a swimming larvae by developing an efficient technique for large-scale insertional mutagenesis. Hopkins has also led an ongoing effort to end discrimination against women in science. In 1995 she was appointed Chair of the first Committee on Women Faculty in the School of Science at MIT, and in 2000 she was appointed Co-Chair of the first Council on Faculty Diversity at MIT. Hopkins co-authored the fourth edition of Molecular Biology of the Gene. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. She is an advocate for cancer prevention and early detection research.


1 Optical Disks (Taking Science with Nancy Hopkins) : DVD ; 50 min

1 Cassettes (Camcorder footage) : Hi-8 - CSHL1259

1 VHS (Working Copy) : VHS: 2021 Hopkins_Nancy_2001_01 [0:57:48] unedited

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English


Interview recorded on Hi-8, then transferred to VHS and DVD. VHS digitized in 2021 by CLIR RAR Grant.

Repository Details

Part of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives Repository

Library & Archives
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
One Bungtown Rd
Cold Spring Harbor NY 11724 USA