James Watson Biography
James Watson also known as James Dewey Watson is an American molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist. He is known for co-authoring with Francis Crick the academic paper proposing the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. James was born on 6th April 1928 in Chicago.
James Watson Age/Family
James was born on 6th April 1928 ( 91 years old as of 2018 ). He was born to Jean Mitchell and James D.Watson. He was their only son his father was a businessman descended mostly from colonial English immigrants to America.
James Watson Wife/Kids
James got married to Elizabeth Lewis in 1968 and they came to have two sons. Rufus Robert Watson (born 1970) and Duncan James Watson (1972). James sometimes talks about his son Rufus, who suffers from schizophrenia
James Watson Early Life
Watson grew up on the south side of Chicago and attended public schools, including Horace Mann Grammar School and South Shore High School. He was fascinated with bird watching, a hobby shared with his father,so he considered majoring in ornithology.He appeared on Quiz Kids, a popular radio show that challenged bright youngsters to answer questions. Thanks to the liberal policy of University president Robert Hutchins, he enrolled at the University of Chicago, where he was awarded a tuition scholarship, at the age of 15.
After reading Erwin Schrödinger’s book What Is Life? in 1946, Watson changed his professional ambitions from the study of ornithology to genetics. Watson earned his BS degree in Zoology from the University of Chicago in 1947.In his autobiography, Avoid Boring People, Watson described the University of Chicago as an “idyllic academic institution where he was instilled with the capacity for critical thought and an ethical compulsion not to suffer fools who impeded his search for truth”, in contrast to his description of later experiences.
In 1947 Watson left the University of Chicago to become a graduate student at Indiana University, attracted by the presence at Bloomington of the 1946 Nobel Prize winner Hermann Joseph Muller, who in crucial papers published in 1922, 1929, and in the 1930s had laid out all the basic properties of the heredity molecule that Schrödinger presented in his 1944 book. He received his PhD degree from Indiana University in 1950; Salvador Luria was his doctoral advisor.
James Watson Photos
James Watson Career
Watson was drawn into molecular biology by the work of Salvador Luria. Luria eventually shared the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the Luria–Delbrück experiment, which concerned the nature of genetic mutations. He was part of a distributed group of researchers who were making use of the viruses that infect bacteria, called bacteriophages.
He and Max Delbrückwere among the leaders of this new “Phage Group,” an important movement of geneticists from experimental systems such as Drosophila towards microbial genetics. In 1948, Watson began his PhD research in Luria’s laboratory at Indiana University. That spring, he met Delbrück first in Luria’s apartment and again that summer during Watson’s first trip to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
The Phage Group was the intellectual medium where Watson became a working scientist. Importantly, the members of the Phage Group sensed that they were on the path to discovering the physical nature of the gene. In 1949, Watson took a course with Felix Haurowitz that included the conventional view of that time: that genes were proteins and able to replicate themselves.
Watson then went to Copenhagen University in September 1950 for a year of postdoctoral research, first heading to the laboratory of biochemist Herman Kalckar. Kalckar was interested in the enzymatic synthesis of nucleic acids, and he wanted to use phages as an experimental system. Watson wanted to explore the structure of DNA, and his interests did not coincide with Kalckar’s.
After working part of the year with Kalckar, Watson spent the remainder of his time in Copenhagen conducting experiments with microbial physiologist Ole Maaloe, then a member of the Phage Group.
The experiments, which Watson had learned of during the previous summer’s Cold Spring Harbor phage conference, included the use of radioactive phosphate as a tracer to determine which molecular components of phage particles actually infect the target bacteria during viral infection. The intention was to determine whether protein or DNA was the genetic material, but upon consultation with Max Delbrück, they determined that their results were inconclusive and could not specifically identify the newly labeled molecules as DNA.
Watson never developed a constructive interaction with Kalckar, but he did accompany Kalckar to a meeting in Italy, where Watson saw Maurice Wilkins talk about his X-ray diffraction data for DNA. Watson was now certain that DNA had a definite molecular structure that could be elucidated.
In 1951, the chemist Linus Pauling in California published his model of the amino acid alpha helix, a result that grew out of Pauling’s efforts in X-ray crystallography and molecular model building. After obtaining some results from his phage and other experimental research conducted at Indiana University, Statens Serum Institut (Denmark), CSHL, and the California Institute of Technology.
Watson now had the desire to learn to perform X-ray diffraction experiments so he could work to determine the structure of DNA. That summer, Luria met John Kendrew, and he arranged for a new postdoctoral research project for Watson in England. In 1951 Watson visited the Stazione Zoologica ‘Anton Dohrn’ in Naples.
In mid-March 1953, Watson and Crick deduced the double helix structure of DNA. Crucial to their discovery were the experimental data collected at King’s College London — mainly by Rosalind Franklin, under the supervision of Maurice Wilkins. Sir Lawrence Bragg, the director of the Cavendish Laboratory (where Watson and Crick worked), made the original announcement of the discovery at a Solvay conference on proteins in Belgium on April 8, 1953; it went unreported by the press.
Watson and Crick submitted a paper entitled Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid to the scientific journal Nature, which was published on April 25, 1953. Bragg gave a talk at the Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London on Thursday, May 14, 1953, which resulted in a May 15, 1953, article by Ritchie Calder in the London newspaper News Chronicle, entitled “Why You Are You. Nearer Secret of Life.”
Sydney Brenner, Jack Dunitz, Dorothy Hodgkin, Leslie Orgel, and Beryl M. Oughton were some of the first people in April 1953 to see the model of the structure of DNA, constructed by Crick and Watson; at the time, they were working at Oxford University’s Chemistry Department. All were impressed by the new DNA model, especially Brenner, who subsequently worked with Crick at Cambridge in the Cavendish Laboratory and the new Laboratory of Molecular Biology. According to the late Beryl Oughton, later Rimmer, they all travelled together in two cars once Dorothy Hodgkin announced to them that they were off to Cambridge to see the model of the structure of DNA.
The Cambridge University student newspaper Varsity also ran its own short article on the discovery on Saturday, May 30, 1953. Watson subsequently presented a paper on the double-helical structure of DNA at the 18th Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Viruses in early June 1953, six weeks after the publication of the Watson and Crick paper in Nature. Many at the meeting had not yet heard of the discovery. The 1953 Cold Spring Harbor Symposium was the first opportunity for many to see the model of the DNA double helix.
Watson, Crick, and Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 for their research on the structure of nucleic acids. Rosalind Franklin had died in 1958 and was therefore ineligible for nomination.
The publication of the double helix structure of DNA has been described as a turning point in science: understanding of life was fundamentally changed and the modern era of biology began.
Watson and Crick’s use of DNA X-ray diffraction data collected by Rosalind Franklin and Raymond Gosling was unauthorized. They used some of her unpublished data—without her consent—in their construction of the double helix model of DNA. Franklin’s results provided estimates of the water content of DNA crystals and these results were consistent with the two sugar-phosphate backbones being on the outside of the molecule.
Franklin told Crick and Watson that the backbones had to be on the outside; before then, Linus Pauling and Watson and Crick had erroneous models with the chains inside and the bases pointing outwards. Her identification of the space group for DNA crystals revealed to Crick that the two DNA strands were antiparallel.
According to one critic, Watson’s portrayal of Franklin in The Double Helix was negative and gave the appearance that she was Wilkins’ assistant and was unable to interpret her own DNA data. The accusation was indefensible since Franklin told Crick and Watson that the helix backbones had to be on the outside.
In 1956, Watson accepted a position in the Biology department at Harvard University. His work at Harvard focused on RNA and its role in the transfer of genetic information.
He championed a switch in focus for the school from classical biology to molecular biology, stating that disciplines such as ecology, developmental biology, taxonomy, physiology, etc. had stagnated and could progress only once the underlying disciplines of molecular biology and biochemistry had elucidated their underpinnings, going so far as to discourage their study by students.
Watson continued to be a member of the Harvard faculty until 1976, even though he took over the directorship of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1968.
In 1968, Watson wrote The Double Helix, listed by the Board of the Modern Library as number seven in their list of 100 Best Nonfiction books. The book details the sometimes painful story of not only the discovery of the structure of DNA but also the personalities, conflicts and controversy surrounding their work.
Watson’s original title was to have been “Honest Jim”, in that the book recounts the discovery of the double helix from Watson’s point of view and included many of his private emotional impressions at the time. Some controversy surrounded the publication of the book. Watson’s book was originally to be published by the Harvard University Press, but Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins objected, among others. Watson’s home university dropped the project and the book was commercially published.
During his tenure at Harvard, Watson participated in a protest against the Vietnam War: along with “12 Faculty members of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology” including one other Nobel prize winner, he spearheaded a resolution for “the immediate withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam.”
In 1975, on the “thirtieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima,” Watson along with “over 2000 scientists and engineers” spoke out against nuclear proliferation to President Ford in part because of the “lack of a proven method for the ultimate disposal of radioactive waste” and because “The writers of the declaration see the proliferation of nuclear plants as a major threat to American liberties and international safety because they say safeguard procedures are inadequate to prevent terrorist theft of commercial reactor-produced plutonium.
James Watson Networth
Jason`s networth is still under review it will be updated soon.