The Double Helix

Topics: Francis Crick, DNA, Rosalind Franklin Pages: 3 (830 words) Published: February 20, 2013
The Double Helix
James Watson accounts all the events of his career that occurred during 1950 to 1953, which led to the discovery of structure of the DNA in his famous piece of science writing called “The Double Helix”. In his book, James Watson describes how he and Francis Crick discovered the structure of the deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA) that leads to the major themes of this book, which is nature of scientific discovery. Watson describes his and Crick’s search for a simple explanation of DNA, which is made difficult by the poor communications amongst the scientists.

The book starts of with the introduction of the main characters, which includes Francis Crick, Max Perutz, Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin, Sir Lawrence Bragg and Linus Pauling. Each of these characters has played a significant role in inspiring Watson’s discovery. Sir Lawrence Bragg was the director of the Cavendish lab, where Watson and Crick did their research and he was the founder of the crystallography. Erwin Chargaff was an Australian born biochemist that discovered the four bases paring of the DNA. Francis Crick who was Watson’s colleague in the discovering the structure of the DNA is described to be very outspoken and bright. Rosalind Franklin also called Rosy was Maurice Wilkin’s assistant who was trained in crystallography. Maurice Wilkins was physicist turned biologist who studied the molecular structure of the DNA at University of London’s King’s College. He was the first person that inspired Watson in his research of molecular structure of the DNA. Linus Pauling is a chemist at Cal Tech, California who studied the structure of the DNA and was Watson and Cricks greatest rival in discovering the molecular structure of the DNA. Max Perutz was also a chemist who worked at Cavendish lab and was in charge of the area where Watson and Crick did their research.

In class we have studied that Erwin Chargaff ‘s two rules on base paring which include that the number of purines...
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