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The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA Paperback – Jun 12 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; 1 edition (June 12 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074321630X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743216302
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.1 x 1.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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I HAVE never seen Francis Crick in a modest mood. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the story of the search for the structure of DNA, told by the one who (with Francis Crick) discovered it. But it's far more than that. It is also the story of a young man who tries to find his way in the world of science. The book is very well written, in a charming informal style. However, this is a highly personal account, and should not be considered as the objective truth about the subject. Especially the fans of Rosalind Franklin will testify this. Nevertheless, I recommend this book if you want to savour the thrill of scientific discovery.
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By shel99 on May 8 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This firsthand account of the discovery of DNA dispels a lot of the notions that ousiders have about how science really works. Watson's descriptions of the competition, politics, dead ends, personality clashes, mistakes, and eventually inspiration reveal that discovery is not as clear-cut a process as it sometimes might seem.
Watson is honest in his introduction that his account is just that, the story told through his own point of view, complete with possible faulty memories and personal prejudices. I was intrigued by the portrayals of the personalities of so many famous figures that I've been learning about for years in my biology and genetics classes - Francis Crick, of course, along with Maurice Wilikins, Rosalind Franklin, Linus Pauling, and many more. I was touched by Watson's admission at the end of the book that his unfavorable impressions of Rosalind Franklin stemmed from the fact that she was a woman trying to make a name for herself in the male-dominated world of scientific research in the 1950s.
There is quite a bit of biological jargon in this book, and though it could probably be read by someone without any knowledge of genetics, it will be appreciated more by readers with some background. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in genetics and science.
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By shel99 on May 8 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This firsthand account of the discovery of DNA dispels a lot of the notions that ousiders have about how science really works. Watson's descriptions of the competition, politics, dead ends, personality clashes, mistakes, and eventually inspiration reveal that discovery is not as clear-cut a process as it sometimes might seem.
Watson is honest in his introduction that his account is just that, the story told through his own point of view, complete with possible faulty memories and personal prejudices. I was intrigued by the portrayals of the personalities of so many famous figures that I've been learning about for years in my biology and genetics classes - Francis Crick, of course, along with Maurice Wilikins, Rosalind Franklin, Linus Pauling, and many more. I was touched by Watson's admission at the end of the book that his unfavorable impressions of Rosalind Franklin stemmed from the fact that she was a woman trying to make a name for herself in the male-dominated world of scientific research in the 1950s.
There is quite a bit of biological jargon in this book, and though it could probably be read by someone without any knowledge of genetics, it will be appreciated more by readers with some background. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in genetics and science.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although The Double Helix by James D. Watson is not the most riveting-can't-put-it-down book, it does offer a fascinating first-hand account of the events leading up to one of the most impacting scientific discoveries ever. Its manifestation of the unique existence of a scientist exposes what type of competitions, manipulation, and discovery exist in the science arena.
The introduction of other key figures who played prominent and influential roles in the discovery of the DNA structure is at the very least, enlightening. The network of knowledge necessary to ensure there are no foibles in a key discovery is something that the general public may have never taken into account. Also, it evinces the professional barriers that exist between the genders. The back story of Rosalind "Rosie" Franklin is fascinating as it examines the "glass ceiling" and what type of personality a woman needs to adopt in order to survive in a male dominated field. The end of the end of the book-where Watson realizes her seemingly callous attitude emanates from her essential need to incorporate survival methods is refreshing. The science terms are difficult to follow if one does not have previous scientific background, but there is enough universality imbedded into the story to keep a reader's attention.
Another aspect that proves to be surprising is the fact that scientists are not without their weak fields-just because they excel in chemistry does not mean they are equally capable in biology. Reading of how Watson and Crick were unsuccessful on several occasions somehow made them human-like they were mortals rather than some higher power intellectuals. Somehow, there seems to be an idea or stigma attached to scientists that suggest they are always brilliant and do not make mistakes.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Most readers of "The Double Helix" would be further enlightened by Anne Sayre's "Rosalind Franklin and DNA".
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