The Double Helix

The Double Helix

A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA

By James D. Watson

Touchstone Books, Paperback, 9780743216302, 256pp.

Publication Date: June 12, 2001

Description
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.


About the Author
James D. Watson was Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory from 1968 to 1993 and is now its President. He spent his undergraduate years at the University of Chicago and received his Ph.D. in 1950 from Indiana University. Between 1950 and 1953, he did postdoctoral research in Copenhagen and Cambridge, England. While at Cambridge, he began the collaboration that resulted in the elucidation of the double-helical structure of DNA in 1953. Later in1953, he went to the California Institute of Technology. He moved to Harvard in 1955, where he taught and did research on RNA synthesis and protein synthesis until 1976. He was the first Director of the National Center for Genome Research of the National Institutes of Health from 1989 to 1992. Dr. Watson was sole author of the first, second, and third editions of "Molecular Biology of the Gene," and a co-author of the fourth edition. These were published in 1965, 1970, 1976, and 1987 respectively. Watson has also been involved in two other textbooks: he was one of the original authors of "Molecular Biology of the Cell" and is also an author of "Recombinant DNA: a short course.


Praise For The Double Helix

Robert K. Merton
The New York Times Book Review

A fascinating case history...Describes the events that led up to one of the great biological discoveries of our time.


Jacob Bronowski
The Nation

No one could miss the excitement in this story of a great and beautiful discovery....The book communicates the spirit of science as no formal account has ever done....the sense of the future, the high spirits, and the rivalry and the guesses right and wrong, the surge of imagination and the test of fact.


Peter B. Medewar
The New York Review of Books

An enormous success...a classic.


Andre Lwoff
Scientific American

The history of a scientific endeavor, a true detective story that leaves the reader breathless from beginning to end.


Richard Feynman


He has described admirably how it feels to have that frightening and beautiful experience of making a scientific discovery.


Philip Morrison
Life

Lively, wholly brash, full of sharp and sudden opinion, often at the edge of scandal.