Carlos Bustamante's son was a little too quick for his dad when the phone rang at 7 a.m. last week: The boy answered it.
"We never answer the phone during breakfast," said Bustamante. . . "But he grabbed it, and then said 'Oh, it's for you.' When I heard the fellow introduce himself as from the MacArthur Foundation, I thought, 'Oh my God, this can't be happening.'"
Evidently the selection committee also couldn't resist having a little fun with Bustamante:
"There's another, really famous Carlos J. Bustamante, who is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Berkeley," explained Bustamante, whose middle initial is "D." "When they called that morning to tell me I had won, they asked to read the bio they had written for me over the phone. When they began by saying, 'Carlos J. Bustamante...' my heart just sank. But then he laughed, and said, 'No, just joking.'"
Bustamante's research focuses on understanding the evolution and interactions of population genetics in humans, dogs and even plants and pathogens.