For a scientist married to another scientist, each spherework and homeinevitably affects, and sometimes instructs, the other. Below, some HHMI investigators and their spouses offer their observations:
SCIENCE SCHOOLING MARRIAGE
"You have to be rational in our profession, to see the other side of things. That carries over. I consider it a stroke of luck to have met a scientist."
Johann Deisenhofer, married to Kirsten Fischer Lindahl, both HHMI investigators at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
"We don't nickel and dime who did what."
Philippa Marrack, married to John W. Kappler, both HHMI investigators, National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Denver
"People ask, 'How do you feel when she wins so many awards?' I say, 'I feel great.'"
Thomas A. Steitz, married to Joan A. Steitz, both HHMI investigators, Yale University
"If you collaborate with another scientist, on occasion, things can happen that poison the relationship. But Helen and I have a large basket of trust a priori that facilitates collaboration."
David Piwnica-Worms, director of the Molecular Imaging Center, Washington University, St. Louis, married to Helen M. Piwnica-Worms, HHMI investigator, Washington University
"Every so often John and I have a fight, but the science trundles along."
"The good news is that couples who work together are constantly communicating so issues can be worked out immediately. The bad news is that there's opportunity for friction at almost any time."
Jonathan G. Seidman, HHMI investigator, Harvard Medical School, married to Christine E. Seidman, HHMI investigator, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School
"People who don't know you have trouble separating you. They say, 'Who's the brains there?'"
John W. Kappler
"Someone always wants to know who did it. But science is not a solo act."
Christine E. Seidman
"Our life is a seamless interface as we go back and forth from office to home. It all blends together as one big adventure."
"I don't think it was the biochemistry that drew me to her."
Thomas A. Steitz
this story in Acrobat PDF format.
Reprinted from the HHMI Bulletin,
December 2002, pages 18-21.
©2002 Howard Hughes Medical Institute