TCD exhibition on the life and work of Nobel prize winner, James Watson, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA

Posted on: 05 September 2007

An exhibition on the life and work of Dr James D Watson, Nobel prize winner and co-discoverer (with Crick, Wilkins and Franklin) of the structure of DNA opened in the Long Room, Trinity College Dublin on Tuesday 4th September.

The New York-based Dr Watson opened the exhibition entitled Honest Jim – James D Watson the Writer, which includes writings from his personal collection, highlighting his career as a scientist, science writer and his experiences of communicating science to the wider public. The story of genetics and molecular biology are shown through his writings, demonstrating  the crucial importance of mathematics, physics and chemistry in the DNA story.

The exhibition, a collaboration between the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Library and the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives, New York ,  includes materials illustrating Irish scientific connections to the development of molecular biology and genetics. It includes a letter from Francis Crick to the physicist Schrodinger, commenting on the influence of his remarkable book, What is Life (which was written in Dublin )on the Nobel Prize Winners’ research and work.  It also includes books by the Irish physicist, J D Bernal, renowned for his groundbreaking work on X -ray crystallography.

As a leading figure in science since the 1953 discovery of the structure of DNA, and one of the most gifted and frank writers of science, Watson’s documents provide a unique insight into the ethical, legal and social implications of understanding life at a chemical and genetic level.

The exhibition runs until the 27th September and is open to the public.