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Watson and DNA : making a scientific revolution

Author: Victor K McElheny
Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Perseus, 2003.
Edition/Format:   Book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
From the discovery of the double helix to the imminent sequencing of the human genome, James Watson has been at dead center in this great biological revolution. Since the very morning after his Nobel Prize-winning discovery, he has continued to ride the scientific supernova that he and his collaborator, Francis Crick, detonated in 1953. Targeting the big questions, mobilizing the best talent, writing the textbook  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biography
Biographies
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
McElheny, Victor K.
Watson and DNA.
Cambridge, MA : Perseus, 2003
(OCoLC)606933819
Online version:
McElheny, Victor K.
Watson and DNA.
Cambridge, MA : Perseus, 2003
(OCoLC)607822646
Named Person: James D Watson; James D Watson; James D Watson; James D Watson, Biologe.; James D Watson
Material Type: Biography, Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Victor K McElheny
ISBN: 0738203416 9780738203416
OCLC Number: 51440191
Notes: "A Merloyd Lawrence book."
Description: xiv, 365 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., ports. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Prologue: 19 October 1962 --
1. Books and birds: "growing up" in Chicago : "No money but lots of books" ; Bird-watching quiz kid ; Avery and Schrödinger ; Learning to think: college at 15 --
2. Target, the gene: Bloomington and "paradise" : "High-power minds" ; "Fun and games" with Max ; X-ray survival ; "Long winter of rain and darkness" ; "Why not me?" --
3. Stumbling on gold: two smart alecks in Cambridge : "A nagging yet productive symbiosis" ; Fiasco ; Can't stop thinking about DNA ; Linus's mistake ; "Just a beautiful helix" ; Steeplechase ; Base pairing --
4. A beautiful molecule: being believed : Convincing themselves ; The hidden future ; Convincing colleagues ; Announcing the discovery ; The first publicity ; Change at Cold Spring Harbor ; "For a moment, the room remained silent" --
5. Now what? Thrashing around : "Dear Rosalind" ; Romance, a summer in Cambridge, and the genetic code ; "Much travail" in Pasadena ; A "wiskie twisty" party in Woods Hole ; Jim "was very introverted then" ; Getting Jim to Harvard ; Rejection --
6. Harvard: "few dared call him to account" : "A laboratory of special influence" ; Making enemies ; A "confidential" style of lecturing ; Goading young researchers ; Viruses and cancer ; Increasing fame ; Nobel Prize --
7. Manifesto and marriage : Defining the field: molecular biology of the gene ; Does the ribosome carry the message? ; The "perfect couple" ; Messenger RNA ; Genetic code ; Forward gear ; A view from the periphery ; Reverse gear ; Liz --
8. "Fresh, arrogant, catty, bratty, and funny" : Watson: "I can't imagine Francis being harmed" ; Crick: "a violation of friendship" ; Lwoff: "may God protect us from such friends!" ; Morrison: "seeking room at the top" ; Why all the fuss? --
9. A passion for building: Cold Spring Harbor : Always edgy ; "A lab near death" ; Big goals ; Fixing the place up ; The crucial gift ; "DNA town" ; Limits ; Management style ; Succession --
10. "Higher" cells: science at Cold Spring Harbor : The pressure to keep in touch ; "The next big hard problem" ; Restriction enzymes ; Retroviruses ; Jim drops in ; Lighting up the "cytoskeleton" ; "Everybody in the world came through" ; Close quarters ; Price of fame ; "He'll give you a project" ; "Jim was really heartbroken" ; "We were his yeast guys" ; Split genes ; Gazing "upward at the brain" --
11. "Odd man out": recombinant DNA : Germ warfare? ; "Ridiculous" ; Cloning ; "War" on cancer ; Robert Pollack has a fit ; "Almost magical" tools ; Letter to colleagues: hold off ; Genetic engineering and the bomb ; Asilomar II ; "The worst week of my life" ; Hysteria after Asilomar ; "I felt we were in real trouble" ; The critical year: 1977 ; Wait until the sun burns out? --
12. Genome: "it is so obvious" : Who? ; A startling idea ; Genetic focus on disease ; Mapping, radiation, cancer, gene therapy, and machines ; Santa Cruz ; Sante Fe ; Storm clouds ; Emotion at Cold Spring Harbor ; Hammering out the deal: Bruce Alberts' committee ; Colliding with David Baltimore ; Start-up ; Preemptive strike: "some very real dilemmas" ; A splash of jingoism ; Opponents try again: "I'm sitting here starving" ; Recruiting ; "I was fired" ; "Thank you, sir --
Epilogue: "I'm an optimist" --
James Dewey Watson: a brief chronology --
Interviews by the author.
Responsibility: Victor K. McElheny.
More information:

Abstract:

From the discovery of the double helix to the imminent sequencing of the human genome, James Watson has been at dead center in this great biological revolution. Since the very morning after his Nobel Prize-winning discovery, he has continued to ride the scientific supernova that he and his collaborator, Francis Crick, detonated in 1953. Targeting the big questions, mobilizing the best talent, writing the textbook that defined molecular biology, energizing the "war on cancer," he has served as a prime mover of the DNA era. Now, a distinguished science reporter who has known him for decades and worked for him for four years, with unique access to the scientists who know Watson best, has written an unauthorized, non-reverential account of this extraordinary man. While Watson is probably the most influential scientist in the last half-century, he is also one of the most controversial. From the ruthless competition in the race to identify the structure of DNA, to clashes with ethicists over charged issues in genetics, to a chorus of Bronx cheers for his recent memoir, Watson has left a wake of detractors as well as fans. Until now, Watson has managed to keep control over his legend, fending off aspiring biographers with his own memoirs. Victor McElheny gets behind this invented persona, bringing us close to the relentless genius who triggered and sustained a revolution in science that affects us all.

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