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James D. Watson
(American Scientist)

Date of Birth:
April 6, 1928


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James Dewey Watson is an American molecular biologist, best known as one of the co-discoverers of the structure of DNA. Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material". He studied at the University of Chicago and Indiana University and subsequently worked at the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory in England where he first met Francis Crick.

In 1956 he became a junior member of Harvard University's Biological Laboratories until 1976, but in 1968 served as Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, New York and shifted its research emphasis to the study of cancer. In 1994 he became its President for ten years, and then subsequently served as its Chancellor until 2007. Between 1988 and 1992 he was associated with the National Institutes of Health, helping to establish the Human Genome Project. He has written many science books, including the seminal textbook The Molecular Biology of the Gene and his bestselling book The Double Helix about the DNA Structure discovery.

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