Short Biography – Watson, James Dewey (b.1928):Watson made his reputation in the field of genetics. He was born in Chicago, and, at the age of 15, he was admitted to the University of Chicago, graduating in 1947. At Indiana, he finished his Ph.D. in Genetics (it is interesting to note that both Cal. Tech and Harvard turned him down for their graduate programs). In 1950, Watson joined Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, England; there to meet and work with such people as Francis Crick, and others, who were trying to determine the makeup of DNA (Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid). Thus it was, that Crick and Watson made their big discovery, viz. that DNA was a winding helix in which pairs of bases held the strands together. This model of the DNA double helix formed the basis of important research in the areas of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. In 1962, Watson and Crick, together with Maurice Wilkins, were awarded the Nobel Prize. In 1976, Watson was to become the full-time director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (Long Island, New York), which to some, came as a surprize, as he had, by then, established the image of the “Nutty Professor.” At the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Watson made important contributions to the understanding of genetic code. In 1988, Watson’s achievement and success led to his appointment as the Head of the Human Genome Project at the National Institute of Health, a project which turned out to be the most determined and most generously funded effort in biology.
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