James Watson – molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist

james watson-top100James Dewey Watson, born April 6, 1928, is an American molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist, best known as one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA in 1953 with Francis Crick. 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-Crick_top100In mid-March 1953, using experimental data collected mainly by Rosalind Franklin (without her permission) and also by Maurice Wilkins, Watson and Crick deduced the double helix structure of DNA. Sir Lawrence Bragg, the director of the Cavendish Laboratory, where Watson and Crick worked, made the original announcement of the discovery at a Solvay conference on proteins in Belgium on April 8, 1953; it went unreported by the press.

Watson’s accomplishment is displayed on the monument at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Because the monument memorializes only American laureates, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, are omitted. The publication of the double helix structure of DNA can be regarded as a turning point in science: human understanding of life was fundamentally changed and the modern era of biology began.

Watson has written many science books, including the textbook Molecular Biology of the Gene (1965) and his bestselling book The Double Helix (1968). This book is about the DNA structure discovery, reissued in a new edition in 2012The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix edited by Alex Gann and Jan Witkowski.

More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Watson

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