James Dewey Watson (born April 6, 1928) is one of the discoverers of the structure of the DNA molecule. Born in Chicago, Illinois, he earned a B.Sc. in Zoology at the University of Chicago in 1947 and a Ph.D. in Zoology at Indiana University in 1950 before heading to Copenhagen for postdoctoral work.
In 1952, he started at Cavendish Laboratory, where he met Francis Crick. Building on the X-ray diffraction research of Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins, they together developed the proposal of the structure of DNA, which they published in the journal Nature on April 25, 1953. Watson, Crick, and Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery in 1962.
Watson is an outspoken atheist, known for his frank opinions on politics, religion, and the role of science in society. Controversial views he has stated include:
He has written numerous books, including The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (1968), Genes, Girls, and Gamov (2002), and (with Andrew Berry) DNA: The Secret of Life (2003).
A frequent public speaker, Watson currently serves as president of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory[?] in New York.