“The job of graduate education is to teach you to become a scientist,” Watson said. “It’s not to do great science.”
He said that anything beyond four years is serfdom for the student—and cheap labor for the student’s adviser.
Watson also offered rules for making great discoveries.
The first is to choose an objective before its time. But you also should have a route mapped out that enables to you make the discovery in three years.
He said he and Crick could see how making models of possible structure for DNA and using information from competing DNA seekers would lead them to their objective.
Watson advised you keep in touch with their competitors.
“They may be the only ones interested in what you’re doing,” he said, adding. “It’s tricky because you don’t want to give them as much as they give you.”
In response to a question, Watson declined to identify the areas of science in which the next big discoveries will come.
Those answers, he said, should come “from these young people,” opening his arms to the audience of students.