The Double Helix – James D. Watson (1968)

The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA is an autobiographical account of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA written by James D. Watson and published in 1968. It has earned both critical and public praise, along with continuing controversy about credit for the Nobel award and attitudes towards female scientists at the time of the discovery. Watson is a U.S. molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist, best known as one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA in 1953 with Francis Crick. … Though an important book about an immensely important subject, it was and remains a controversial account. Though it was originally slated to be published by Harvard University Press, Watson’s home university, Harvard dropped the arrangement after protestations from Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, co-discoverers of the structure of DNA, and it was published instead by Atheneum in the United States and Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the UK. The intimate first-person memoir about scientific discovery was unusual for its time. The book has been hailed for its highly personal view of scientific work, though has been criticised as caring only about the glory of priority and the author is claimed to be willing to appropriate data from others surreptitiously in order to obtain it. It has also been criticized as being disagreeably sexist towards Rosalind Franklin, another participant in the discovery, who was deceased by the time Watson’s book was written. The events described in the book were dramatized in a BBC television program Life Story (known as The Race for the Double Helix in the U.S.). … The new edition coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the award of the 1962 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine to Francis Crick, James D. Watson and Maurice Wilkins. It contains over three hundred annotations on the events and characters portrayed, with facsimile letters and contemporary photographs, many previously unpublished. … In 1987, the memoir was adapted as a 107-minute television docudrama called Life Story for the BBC, airing on Horizon, the long-running British documentary television series on BBC Two that covers science and philosophy.  …”
W – The Double Helix, W – James Watson
W – Life Story (film)
vimeo: Life Story (1987) (Converted)

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