By Istvan Hargittai
3 in-depth conversations with the Nobel laureate co-discoverer of the double helix and the 1st director of the Human Genome undertaking conceal quite a lot of issues, together with growth in technology; the scientist's function in sleek existence; ladies in technology; medical ethics; terrorism; faith; multiculturalism; and the way genetics might enhance human lives. Reflections by means of extra illustrious participants to the clinical revolution and the author's commentaries offer a glimpse into the considering scientists who principally make sure the growth of humankind in our time.
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Additional info for The DNA doctor: candid conversations with James D. Watson
38 Nirenberg was very important and deserved his Nobel Prize but he was never a friend or anything like that, and he was a biochemist whereas we always thought in terms of information. That was slightly different. Francis Crick told us on the occasion of our visit with the Cricks, on February 7, 2004, that one of his most important findings had never been written up and was recorded only in a manuscript for a lecture which seems to have been lost. This was about the one-dimensional sequence of the amino acids in proteins and the importance of the three-dimensional structures of the proteins.
Chargaff wrote in his review55 of The Double Helix: “There may also be profounder reasons for the general triteness of scientific autobiographies. Timon of Athens could not have been written, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon not have been painted, had Shakespeare and Picasso not existed. But of how many scientific achievements can this be claimed? One could almost say that, with very few exceptions, it is not the men that make science; it is science that makes the men. ” Chargaff was using this correct argument for the wrong example because the discovery of the double helix was one of those special events in science just as the book The Double Helix was a unique product of literature that only Watson could have written and no one else.
51 Watson started remedying the situation about his chemistry as early as the fall of 1954. ”52 By the time he completed his revolutionary major textbook Molecular Biology of the Gene in 1965, it showed no trace of his prior ignorance. At the turn of the millennium, TIME magazine asked Watson to write a tribute for Linus Pauling in which he graciously stated: “I most remember Pauling from 50 years ago, when he proclaimed that no vital forces, only chemical bonds, underlie life. ”53 This is a graceful exaggeration in hindsight because Watson and Crick’s quest for the structure of DNA had nothing to do with whether vital forces played a role in DNA replication or did not.