Tags: Watson | Crick | DNA | Nobel | blacks | intelligence

James Watson, Co-Discoverer of DNA, Selling Nobel Prize

By    |   Tuesday, 02 Dec 2014 06:17 AM

James Watson, one of the scientists who discovered DNA in 1953, is selling his Nobel Prize with a reserve price of $2.5 million in an upcoming auction.

Watson, who along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their groundbreaking discovery, has also made controversial comments during his career — including ones with racial overtones that forced him to resign as chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 2007.

The Financial Times reports that Watson is selling the prize for three reasons: to generate some income, which has been mostly stagnant since his 2007 comments, to purchase some art, and to "re-enter public life."

Watson, now 86, questioned the intelligence of people from Africa seven years ago. He has mostly remained outside of the public eye ever since.

In a 2007 Sunday Times story, Watson said he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours — whereas all the testing says not really."

Watson added he hopes that everyone is equal, but "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true."

The remarks set off a series of events that saw Watson become, as he told the Financial Times, "an 'unperson.'"

"Because I was an 'unperson' I was fired from the boards of companies, so I have no income, apart from my academic income," Watson said.

Watson has not given any public lectures since the controversy.

"I've had a unique life that's allowed me to do things," Watson told the Times. "I was set back. It was stupid on my part. All you can do is nothing, except hope that people actually know what you are."

Crick died in 2004, and last year his Nobel Prize medal sold for $2.3 million. Christie's, which is handling Watson's auction, expects to meet the reserve price on the medal.

Watson recently worked with other scientists to help stop the Ebola outbreak. The scientists said the secret to a cure lies in the blood of Ebola survivors, who carry antibodies for the disease.

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James Watson, one of the scientists who discovered DNA in 1953, is selling his Nobel Prize with a reserve price of $2.5 million in an upcoming auction.
Watson, Crick, DNA, Nobel, blacks, intelligence
359
2014-17-02
Tuesday, 02 Dec 2014 06:17 AM
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