Watson, James D.


Controversial molecular  biologist, co-recipient of 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for proposing the DNA molecule’s double helix structure


Type: Signed Card
Description: (b. 1928) American molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist, he and Francis Crick co-authored the academic paper proposing the double helix structure of the DNA molecule in 1953. Watson, Crick and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material”. Watson and his colleagues did not properly attribute colleague Rosalind Franklin for her contributions to the discovery of the double helix structure.

Watson earned a University of Chicago BS 1947 and a 1950 Indiana University Ph.D. After a post-doctoral year at the University of Copenhagen with Herman Kalckar and Ole Maaløe, Watson worked at the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory where he first met Francis Crick, and was on the faculty of Harvard’s Biology Department 1956-76, promoting research in molecular biology. From 1968 Watson was director of Cold Spring Harbor (CSHL), greatly expanding its level of funding and research. At CSHL, he shifted his research emphasis to studying cancer, along with making it a world-leading research center in molecular biology. In 1994, he started as president and served for 10 years, then appointed chancellor, serving until he resigned in 2007 after making comments claiming a genetic link between intelligence and race. In 2019, after the broadcast of a documentary in which Watson reiterated these views on race and genetics, CSHL revoked his honorary titles and severed all ties with him.

Watson has written many science books, including textbook Molecular Biology of the Gene (1965) and the bestselling book The Double Helix (1968). He was with the National Institutes of Health 1988-92, helping to establish the Human Genome Project, which completed the task of mapping the human genome in 2003.

Condition: Very good

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