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Published to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nobel Prize for Watson and Crick's discovery of the structure of DNA, an annotated and illustrated edition of this classic book gives new insights into the personal relationships between James Watson, Frances Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin, and the making of a scientific revolution. In his 1968 memoir, The Double Helix, the brash young scientist James Watson chronicled the drama of the race to identify the structure of DNA, a discovery that would usher in the era of modern molecular biology. Alexander Gann and Jan Witkowski have built upon this gripping narrative, juxtaposing Watson's racy account with the observations of other protagonists and offering an enhanced perspective on the now legendary story of Watson and Crick's discovery. Gann and Witkowski have mined many sources, including a trove of newly discovered correspondence belonging to Francis Crick (mislaid some fifty years ago) and the archives of Maurice Wilkins, Linus Pauling, Rosalind Franklin, and Watson and Crick themselves. Also in this edition are Watson's own account of the Nobel Prize award and celebrations, appendixes that include an account of the book's controversial first publication, and a chapter dropped from the original edition, as well as an extraordinary assortment of documents and photographs-- many never before published. This wealth of material contributes depth and color to Watson's novelistic text and places events in their contemporary scientific and social context. After half a century, the implications of the double helix keep rippling outward; the tools of molecular biology have forever transformed the life sciences and medicine. The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix adds new richness to the account of the momentous events that led the charge.
From a living legend--James D. Watson, who shared the Nobel Prize for having revealed the structure of DNA--a personal account of the making of a scientist. In Avoid Boring People, the man who discovered "the secret of life" shares the less revolutionary secrets he has found to getting along and getting ahead in a competitive world. Recounting the years of his own formation--from his father's birding lessons to the political cat's cradle of professorship at Harvard--Watson illuminates the progress of an exemplary scientific life, both his own pursuit of knowledge and how he learns to nurture fledgling scientists. Each phase of his experience yields a wealth of age-specific practical advice. For instance, when young, never be the brightest person in the room or bring more than one date on a ski trip; later in life, always accept with grace when your request for funding is denied, and--for goodness' sake--don't dye your hair. There are precepts that few others would find occasion to heed (expect to gain weight after you win your Nobel Prize, as everyone will invite you to dinner) and many more with broader application (do not succumb to the seductions of golf if you intend to stay young professionally). And whatever the season or the occasion: avoid boring people. A true believer in the intellectual promise of youth, Watson offers specific pointers to beginning scientists about choosing the projects that will shape their careers, the supreme importance of collegiality, and dealing with competitors within the same institution, even one who is a former mentor. Finally he addresses himself to the role and needs of science at large universities in the context of discussing the unceremonious departure of Harvard's president Larry Summers and the search for his successor. Scorning political correctness, this irreverent romp through Watson's life and learning is an indispensable guide to anyone plotting a career in science (or most anything else), a primer addressed both to the next generation and those who are entrusted with their minds.
One of the discoverers of the double-helix shape of DNA marks the 50th anniversary of the event by tracing how the field of genetics has evolved from there to the mapping of the human genome. He writes for general readers who need not have knowledge about biology. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
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.capturing in words the flavor of his work.
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