The Annotated and Illustrated Double Helix

James D. Watson, edited by Alexander Gann and Jan Witkowski. Simon & Schuster, $30 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4767-1549-0
Originally published in 1968, The Double Helix combines the personal and scientific memoirs of molecular biologist Watson and his early career search for the structure of DNA. With numerous photographs, journal pages, and illustrations of molecular structures as well as thorough annotations that clarify events, collaborations, and diagrams, this new edition celebrates the 50th anniversary of Watson, Crick, and Wilkins receiving the Nobel Prize in Medicine. "One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid." With a peppering of humor and detailed accounts of his personal interactions, Watson describes his quest to uncover DNA's structure at Cambridge University in the early 1950s, which finally resulted in the discovery of the double helix. Numerous appendices include a chapter about his Nobel Prize experiences, the first letters about the double helix, a previously unpublished chapter, and reviews of the original edition. Watson strikes a balance between science for the layman and science for the scientist, resulting in a memoir that will hold the interest of a broad, scientifically-minded audience. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/07/2013
Release date: 11/01/2012
Genre: Nonfiction
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