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The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helixby James D. Watson
Synopses & Reviews
Published to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nobel Prize for Watson and Cricks 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 Watsons racy account with the observations of other protagonists and offering an enhanced perspective on the now legendary story of Watson and Cricks 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 Watsons own account of the Nobel Prize award and celebrations, appendixes that include an account of the books 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 Watsons 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.
On the fiftieth anniversary of Watson and Crick receiving the Nobel Prize, a freshly annotated and illustrated edition of The Double Helix provides new insights into the personal relationships among James Watson, Frances Crick, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin, and a scientific revolution.
In his 1968 memoir, The Double Helix, James Watson offered a thrilling drama of the race among scientists to identify the structure of DNA. Professors Alexander Gann and Jan Witkowski have built upon this narrative; juxtaposing Watson’s racy account with the commentary of other protagonists, offering an enhanced perspective of the now legendary story.
They have mined many sources: including a trove of newly discovered correspondence belonging to Francis Crick (mislaid some fifty years earlier); excerpts from the papers of Maurice Wilkins, Linus Pauling, and Rosalind Franklin; and a chapter that had been dropped from the original.
After half a century, the implications of the double helix keep rippling outward; the tools of molecular biology have forever transformed the life sciences. The New Annotated and Illustrated Edition of The Double Helix adds a richness to the account of the momentous events that led the charge.
“The Double Helix is the best book I know about a scientific discovery—this new edition suffuses the whole with social history, fascinating documentation, photography, and cunning background research. The early fifties, the beginning of the modern age of molecular biology, spring to life.” —Ian McEwan, author of Atonement
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, together with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1962. He is Chancellor Emeritus of the Watson School of Biological Sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Alexander Gann (the Lita Annenberg Hazen Dean-Elect) is a member of the faculty of the Watson School of Biological Sciences. Jan Witkowski (Executive Director, Banbury Center) is a member of the faculty of the Watson School of Biological Sciences.
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