"The Double Helix" By James D. Watson

922 words - 4 pages

James D. Watson and Francis Crick made a huge impact on the world of biology and DNA. James Watson had been interested with how living things work ever since he was a child. After reading Erwin Schroedinger's book, "What is Life", Watson changed his interest from birds, to a much more important field, genetics. Francis Crick was a British physicist, molecular biologist, and neuroscientist. These men were a team, however, it took the help of many others to get them through their diligent studies of DNA.For the most part, this was how I expected things in the science world to work. Though it seemed less organized than what I would have thought. I would have thought that the constant experiments would all be planned out on a schedule. However, of course there would be some epiphanies in your own private living. One thing that did not surprise me is how much scientists work together. They put their knowledge and ideas together, in order to form reasonable hypotheses. Many scientists were inspired by each other also, like Watson seemed extremely ambitious after seeing Linus Pauling's rendition of the a-helix. However, other people would dine with fellow scientists and discuss ideas only to steal them for their own benefit. For the most part, James D. Watson and Francis Crick would not have become successful without the help of others. The first person who really helped them along the way were Maurice Wilkins, he taught Watson the basics of X-ray diffraction. Next was, Sir Lawrence Bragg, because they were working under his supervision and direction. Although not enjoyable to work with, Rosalind Franklin gave them copies of her DNA X-rays. And finally Linus Pauling, he was mostly just inspiration for their ideas about the helix. Overall, this is how I had imagined science works, despite that there was minimal organization in their experimenting.In the novel, there were a few things that shocked me, and took me by surprise. The first thing that shocked me was the little impact women had on the science world in that time. I know that they did not have as much power in the work force, but other than Rosy, there were no women influences on Watson and Crick's project. Maybe it was a good thing that women didn't really get involved though, because men in that time did not have a lot of respect for ladies; they were seen just as a sex symbol instead of a knowledgeable human being. It also shocked me that it took so long to accomplish what they did. It seems like it would have been more obvious that it did not work to use like-with-like pairing (adenine with adenine, thymine with thymine, etc.). Watson and Crick, sort of seemed to test various...

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