Monday, August 29, 2016

Simple Book Review: The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of The Structure of DNA

The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of The Structure of DNA (1968)
by James D. Watson

Honestly I almost don’t understand the language of chemical and biological terms – biochemistry – in this book besides sugar, protein and X-Ray photography. For the most part, I refer to Youtube videos such as “The DNA Double Helix Discovery” and “TED Talk by James Watson: How We Discovered DNA” to understand the whole experiences. So, what is my goal in reading this book? Serendipity and inspirational story. Richard Feynman, theoretical physicist, writes, “[Watson] has described admirably how it feels to have that frightening and beautiful experience of making a scientific discovery.”

The discovery of the structure of DNA by Francis Crick and James D. Watson (with Maurice Wilkins) in 1953 with all its biological implications has been one of the major scientific events of the 90’s century until now. Without it, there will not be any explosion of researches in relation to biochemistry. The discovery was one of the biggest contributions to the history of science!  Besides that, this book also highlighting their healthy-rivalries (some said bitter rivalries) with people like Linus Pauling and their beautiful friendship stories. They were very serious and focus, yet very playful. In my opinion, they win Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 because they were curious and passionately pursue one goal, one aim only: To find “the secret of life.”  I can feel Watson’s excitement for his work as he penned: “DNA was my only gold rush. I regarded DNA as worth a gold rush.” And so they found gold…
[However, since I’m a theist, I find that James Watson involvements in The Genome Human Project is ethically wrong. But as scientist and brilliant thinker, I admire him and Crick.]


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