Double Helix

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Feb 27, 1998 - Fiction - 226 pages
The classic personal account of Watson and Crick’s groundbreaking discovery of the structure of DNA, now with an introduction by Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind.

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 young scientist 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 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 life sciences, the identification of the basic building block of life. Never has a scientist been so truthful in capturing in words the flavor of his work.

From inside the book

Selected pages


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, together with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1962. He is Chancellor Emeritus of the Watson School of Biological Sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.