Kary Mullis believes his use of LSD helped him win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993! It may also explain his ‘encounter’ with a glowing green raccoon…?
Kary Mullis certainly does not fit the stereotype assigned to scientists.
He is known for his unconventional approach to scientific methods and was listed in an article in New York Times article as one of several scientists who, "after success in their area of research, go on to make unfounded, sometimes bizarre statements in other areas."
He is best known for his improvement of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique for which he won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993.
What inspired Mullis to develop the polymerase chain reaction that helps amplify specific DNA sequences? According to the scientist himself, it was LSD!
"What if I had not taken LSD ever; would I have still invented PCR? I don't know. I doubt it. I seriously doubt it," said Mullis during a BBC interview.
Mullis says he took plenty of LSD in the 60's and 70's and believes the experience was much more important than any courses he ever took!
This might explain why he reported an encounter with a glowing green raccoon at his cabin in northern California one night…
Mullis is an impatient researcher and avoids laboratory work where ever possible. He prefers to think about his research topics while surfing!
Further controversial views expressed by him includes his opinion that there is not enough scientific evidence to support climate change, ozone depletion or the fact that HIV causes AIDS. He has not studied any of these subjects personally, though!