Commentary Magazine

Article Preview

James Watson’s Not So Brilliant Career

- Abstract

Until last year, James Dewey Watson was famous for two things. One was his discovery, with Francis Crick, of the structure of DNA, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962. The other was the fast-paced, no-holds-barred account of the competition for that discovery in his bestselling memoir The Double Helix, published in 1968.

These achievements were more than enough to establish Watson as one of the preeminent figures of the last century, and they might have guaranteed him the reverence of the public and of his fellow scientists for the rest of his life. But Watson was only forty when The Double Helix was published, and he still had many years in which to wear out his esteem.

About the Author