He leaves Cetus in 1986, earning his living by consulting and lecturing. He has published no more scientific papers. According to him, science has been just one of several keen interests in his life, like writing, psychedelic drugs and women. Since winning the Nobel Prize, Mullis has been criticized for promoting ideas in areas in which he has no expertise. He has promoted AIDS denialism, climate change denial and his belief in astrology.
Some time after his PhD, he drops out of science. First he writes fiction, then he manages a bakery for two years.
Kary Mullis shares the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Michael Smith. Mullis has invented the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), a method of amplifying DNA. PCR multiplies a single, microscopic strand of the genetic material billions of times within hours. The process had been described before, but Mullis’ improvements have allowed it to become a central technique with many applications in medicine, genetics, biotechnology, and forensics.
That year, Dr. Mullis becomes a postdoctoral fellow in pediatric cardiology at the University of Kansas Medical School, with emphasis in the areas of angiotensin and pulmonary vascular physiology.
Dr. Mullis joins the Cetus Corporation in Emeryville, California, in 1979. During his seven years there, he conducts research on oligonucleotide synthesis and invented the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method for which he is later awarded the Nobel Prize. Dr. Mullis has described how the concept of PCR came to him during a night drive along a highway.
Kary Banks Mullis is born in Lenoir, North Carolina.
He earns a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1972. His research focuses on synthesis and structure of bacterial iron transporter molecules.
He lectures in biochemistry in 1972.
He receives a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1966. During his studies, he marries the first time and starts a business.
A friend, Thomas White, encourages Mullis to go back into science. In 1977 he begins two years of postdoctoral work in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of California, San Francisco.