Double Helix

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Simon and Schuster, Feb 27, 1998 - Fiction - 226 pages
23 Reviews
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The classic personal account of one of the great scientific discoveries of the century.By identifying the structure of DNA, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry and won themselves a Nobel Prize. At the time, Watson was only twenty-four, a brilliant young zoologist hungry to make his mark. His uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of science's greatest unsolved mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions, and bitter rivalries. With humility unspoiled by false modesty, Watson relates his and Crick's desperate efforts to beat Linus Pauling to the Holy Grail of the life sciences, the identification of the basic building block of life. He is impressed by the achievements of the young man he was, but clear-eyed about his limitations. Never has such a brilliant scientist also been so gifted, and so truthful, in capturing in words the flavor of his work.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tgraettinger - LibraryThing

Wonderful account of the discovery of DNA. Had almost the feel of a detective novel. It's a very easy, quick read. If you can find it, there is a video, "The Race for the Double Helix" aka "Life Story ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - pramodghuge - LibraryThing

A very personal account by the author James Watson on how he and his colleague Francis Crick with the help of others beat Linus Pauling to win the coveted Nobel prize for identifying the structure of ... Read full review


Letter to Max Delbruck 227233
Short section of DNA 1951
Covalent bonds of the sugarphosphate backbone
Mg++ ions binding phosphate groups
Schematic view of DNA likewithlike base pairs
Tautomeric forms of guanine and thymine
Schematic illustration of the double helix
DNA replication

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About the author (1998)

James D. Watson was born in 1928 in Chicago. After graduation from the University of Chicago, he worked in genetics at Indiana University, receiving his Ph.D. in 1950. He spent a year at the University of Copenhagen, followed by two years at the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University. There he met Francis Crick, and the collaboration resulted in their proposal in 1953 of a structure for DNA. After a two-year period at Cal Tech, he joined the faculty at Harvard where he remained as Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology until 1976. Since 1968, as director of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, his research has centered on bacterial virus, molecular genetics, and the synthesis of proteins.

In 1962, together with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, Dr. Watson was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology. Prior to The Double Helix, he wrote The Molecular Biology of the Gene, which is now in a third edition.