The Nobel Prize-Winning, LSD Dropping, Problematic Scientist Who Invented PCR

In a feature for Elemental, Wudan Yan profiles the late scientist Kary Mullis who invented polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a process that exploits the ability of genetic material to replicate. PCR is critical for Covid-19 testing and it’s hard to imagine navigating the pandemic without it. But Mullis is a complicated character. He loved LSD, was married four times, and spent too much of his time post-Nobel Prize sharing discredited and harmful theories about HIV and AIDS. How will he be remembered?



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