James Watson  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

James Dewey Watson (born April 6, 1928) is an American molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist. In 1953, he co-authored with Francis Crick the academic paper proposing the double helix structure of the DNA molecule. Watson, 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".


Watson has repeatedly asserted that differences in average measured IQ between blacks and whites are due to genetics. In early October 2007, he was interviewed by Charlotte Hunt-Grubbe at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). He discussed his view that Africans are less intelligent than Westerners.[96][97][98] Watson said his intention was to promote science, not racism, but some UK venues canceled his appearances,[99] and he canceled the rest of his tour.[100][101][102][103] An editorial in Nature said that his remarks were "beyond the pale," but wished that the tour had not been canceled so that Watson would have had to face his critics in person, encouraging scientific discussion on the matter.[104] Because of the controversy, the Board of Trustees at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory suspended Watson's administrative responsibilities.[105] Watson issued an apology,[106] then retired at the age of 79 from CSHL from what the lab called "nearly 40 years of distinguished service".[59][107] Watson attributed his retirement to his age, and circumstances that he could never have anticipated or desired.[108][109][110]

In 2008, Watson was appointed chancellor emeritus of CSHL.[111][112] In a BBC documentary that year, Watson said he did not see himself as a racist.[113] As of 2009, he continued to advise and guide project work at the laboratory.[114]

In January 2019, following the broadcast of a television documentary made the previous year in which he repeated his views about race and genetics, CSHL revoked honorary titles that it had awarded to Watson, and cut all remaining ties with him.[115][116][117] Watson did not respond to the developments, having been ill since a car accident in October 2018.[118]

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