James 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." After studies at the University of Chicago and Indiana University, he worked at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory in England, where he first met his future collaborator and friend Francis Crick.
In 1956, Watson became a junior member of Harvard University's Biological Laboratories, holding this position until 1976, promoting research in molecular biology. Between 1988 and 1992, Watson was associated with the National Institutes of Health, helping to establish the Human Genome Project. Watson has written many science books, including the seminal textbook The Molecular Biology of the Gene (1965) and his bestselling book The Double Helix (1968) about the DNA structure discovery.
From 1968 he served as director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) on Long Island, New York, greatly expanding its level of funding and research. At CSHL, he shifted his research emphasis to the study of cancer. In 1994, he started as president and served for 10 years.
- James Watson telling his life story at Web of stories
- Works by or about James D. Watson
- James Watson's Wikipedia page
- James D. Watson Collection at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library
- DNA Interactive - Site from the Dolan DNA Learning Center
- DNA from the beginning
- Discover "Reversing Bad Truths" - David Duncan interviews Watson
James Watson Quotes
If Watson and I had not discovered the [DNA] structure, instead of being revealed with a flourish it would have trickled out and that its impact would have been far less. For this sort of reason Stent had argued that a scientific discovery is more akin to a work of art than is generally admitted. Style, he argues, is as important as content. I am not completely convinced by this argument, at least in this case.
At lunch Francis [Crick] winged into the Eagle to tell everyone within hearing distance that we had found the secret of life.
We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biological interest.