Describes the improbable career of James Watson, a central figure in the revolution that has transformed biology again and again in the fifty years since he and Francis Crick discovered that DNA is a double helix, thus shedding bright new light on how characteristics are transmittedfrom generation to generation.
An account of one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the past century...In 1950 a young American zoologist, James Watson, came to Cambridge to work on molecular biology. From 1950--1953 he worked with Francis Crick, during which time they solved the structure of DNA -- seen as one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of the past century -- and for which they were awarded a shared Nobel Prize in 1962. Watson returned to the US where he became Professor of Molecular Biology at Harvard and subsequently Director of the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory. He was appointed Head of the US Human Genome Project in 1988, and was pivotal to guiding the project through the controversy surrounding genetic research. His collaboration with The Wellcome Trust helped to establish the Sanger Centre as the focus for the UK sequencing effort of the human genome. Giving a balanced view of Watson's whole life and work, this biography traces the stages of this discovery, the setbacks, false starts and breakthroughs, putting Watson and Crick within the context of the other work being done at the time. It also looks at Watson's whole career including his later genome work and his early life. Victor K. McElheny is a prominent science writer who has been writing about the revolution in molecular biology and biotechnology for over three decades. His interest in James D. Watson spans the years from his first meeting with Watson in 1962 to the present day. He is a Harvard graduate who also headed the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His work has been featured by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Science and the BBC. * There has been considerable criticism lately (particularly in a biography of Rosalind Franklin by Brenda Maddox) that James D. Watson's own account of his work, The Double Helix, presented an exceptionally biased view of events. This biography is based on interviews with all his contemporaries to present a more balanced view. * A biography of a extremely talented man -- he gained his PhD at the remarkably young age of 22 -- who has made a major contribution towards the shaping of the future world * Explains how the structure of DNA was discovered * Gives an insight into the workings of the world of science and scientists 2003 is 50 years since the discovery of DNA, which will undoubtly ensure coverage of the progress to date in this field, and there is also a five--part series currently in production on James Watson and featuring the author of this book, which is due to be screened in Spring 2003 on Channel 4.