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The Life of James Dewey Watson
By christianna657

Early Life
James Dewey Watson was born on April 6, 1928 in Chicago, Illinois. His parents were Jean Mitchell and James D. Watson and James was their only son. In his childhood, he was interested in bird watching which was something he shared with his father. He also appeared on a popular radio show called Quiz Kids where they quiz smart kids with questions. He went to Horace Mann Grammar School for eight years and South Shore High School for two years. In the summer in 1943, he received a tuition scholarship to the University of Chicago. James Watson attended the University of Chicago when he was 15 years old and graduated in 1947 with a B.Sc. degree in Zoology. Later, he received his PhD at the University of Indiana where he studied viruses and Zoology.


Discoveries and Middle Life
He continued his work further at the University of Copenhagen and later in 1951 moved to the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England to study the structure of DNA. He went to the California Institute of Technology for two years and in 1956 accepted a position at Harvard University as the professor of biology. While he was at Harvard, he wrote a university textbook that was on molecular biology titled The Molecular Biology of the Gene (1965). Back to 1951, James Watson met Francis Crick at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England. James Watson and Francis Crick were both interested in DNA at the time. They decided to become partners and thought that the molecular subunits of DNA were in a simple pattern that they could discover. James Dewey Watson was the discoverer of the double helical structure of the deoxyribonucleic acid along with his partner Francis Crick. Deoxyribonucleic acid is also known as DNA, and is a molecule that carries all of the physical characteristics that were inherited in every living thing. Based on James Watson’s and Francis Crick’s research, a DNA strand can duplicate itself. The different elements of DNA compose of Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon, and Phosphorus. The strands in DNA are anti-parallel meaning that they run in opposite directions. Near the middle of his personal life, James Watson married Elizabeth Lewis in 1968 and had two children named Rufus Robert and Duncan James.


Awards and Late Life
In 1962 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Francis Harry Compton Crick, James Dewey Watson, and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins for their research and discovery to an important question in science. James Watson was a part of the Human Genome Project at the National Institute of Health from 1988 to 1992. This project was to try to map and discover all of the genes in human chromosomes. Early in 2007, his own genome was sequenced and available on the Internet and was the second person to ever do it. Later in 2007, he retired at age 79. James Watson is still living today at age 85 and is now known as an American Biochemist.




Citations


Byers, Paula K. Ed., “Rosalyn S. Yalow.”Encyclopedia of World Biography.Vol. 16. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Print.


Daintith, John and Derek Gjertsen. The Grolier library of science biographies. Vol. 10. Danbury: Grolier, 1997. Print.


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