Monday, April 8, 2013



AKA James Dewey Watson
Born: 6-Apr-1928Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Gender: MaleReligion: AtheistRace or Ethnicity: WhiteOccupation: Scientist
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Co-Discoverer of DNA
James Watson was a bright young American who entered the University of Chicago at the age of 15. He was particularly interested in birds, and quickly earned a BS and Ph.D. in zoology, then went to Europe to study genetics.
At Cambridge, he met a Brit named Francis Crick, and together with their colleague Maurice Wilkins, they tried to elucidate the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). They felt Linus Pauling, then the world's most famous chemist, was breathing down their necks, and they desperately wanted to solve the DNA riddle before he did. Pauling had already come close, but it was Crick, Watson, and Wilkins who first showed that the collected clues only made sense if DNA were structured like two twisting, spiral ladders -- the double helix.
Some have suggested that Rosalind Franklin, who worked with Crick, Watson, and Wilkins, may deserve much more credit than she's been given. The evidence clearly shows she was intimately involved in the research of DNA's structure; that she pointed out the flaws in an early Crick-Watson theory that suggested three, not two, DNA chains; and that Crick and Watson used Franklin's x-ray DNA photographs before obtaining her permission. Franklin, however, died in 1958, four years before Crick, Watson, and Wilkins got their Nobel Prizes.
Crick and Watson also theorized on the structure of viruses. Without Crick, Watson studied x-ray diffraction in ribonucleic acid (RNA), and the role of RNA in protein synthesis. He's taught at CalTech and Harvard, and served as director and president of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, studying tumor virology, the molecular basis of cancer, and oncogenes (cancer genes).
In October 2007, Watson sparked controversy when he said in an interview that he was "inherently gloomy" about Africa's future because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really". He later apologized "unreservedly" and said there is "no scientific basis for such a belief."
Father: James Dewey Watson (businessman)
Mother: Jean Mitchell (d. 1957)
Wife: Elizabeth Lewis (m. 25-Mar-1968, two sons)



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