Kary Mullis, whose invention of the polymerase chain reaction technique earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993, died of pneumonia on August 7, according to MyNewsLA.com. He was 74 years old.
It was hailed as one of the most important scientific inventions of the 20th century; a discovery that among countless other applications and research gave scientists the ability to study DNA from a 40,000-year-old frozen mammoth and helped investigators take tiny amounts of DNA to identify or exonerate crime suspects. It's the technique that Hollywood used to revive dinosaurs from fossilized DNA in the 1993 movie "Jurassic Park."
Mullis was born in 1944 in rural North Carolina in the US. During high school, he developed an interest in science, and went on to study chemistry at the Georgia Institute of Technology, later completing a PhD in biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley in 1973.