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5.0 von 5 Sternen Watson's The Double Helix
While I am glad to see the current rush to purchase M. Greene's best seller (which I reviewed), there are good arguments for putting first priority on Watson's The Double Helix. Not only did Watson and Crick win the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA, but Watson reveals much about what makes a Creative Genius tick (which Greene's book does not). One of...
Veröffentlicht am 1. April 2000 von Osher Doctorow, Ph.D.

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1.0 von 5 Sternen The Double Helix: A NOVEL
James Watson and Francis Crick were both brillian scientists, there is no doubt about that. Although they are given more credit than they are due, they did make a monumental discovery. Rosalind Franklin first interprete the B form of DNA as having a helical structure, and later, in a private, unpublished notebook, as having "interchangability." Although...
Am 29. März 2000 veröffentlicht


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1.0 von 5 Sternen The Double Helix: A NOVEL, 29. März 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Double Helix (Mentor) (Taschenbuch)
James Watson and Francis Crick were both brillian scientists, there is no doubt about that. Although they are given more credit than they are due, they did make a monumental discovery. Rosalind Franklin first interprete the B form of DNA as having a helical structure, and later, in a private, unpublished notebook, as having "interchangability." Although Rosalind Franklin contributed equally to the discovery of DNA, Watson and Crick made the final, crucial step. However, Watson's portrayal of Rosalind Franklin as "Rosy" is inaccurate an inexcusable. Even Maurice Wilkins, another scientist involved with the discovery of DNA and was honored with the Nobel Prize, states this clearly. Although the personality clashes between Wilkins and Franklin caused a lack of communication which may have ultimately impeded the discovery, he says, referring to a ridulous Double Helix passage in which "Rosy" nearly physically attacks Watson, "Jim wrote a novel." I advise any readers of this book to be wary of such departures from the truth, and to read Rosalind Franklin and DNA (widely recognized among educated readers as the clear and balanced account of the discovery of the structure of DNA.)
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Watson's The Double Helix, 1. April 2000
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Double Helix (Mentor) (Taschenbuch)
While I am glad to see the current rush to purchase M. Greene's best seller (which I reviewed), there are good arguments for putting first priority on Watson's The Double Helix. Not only did Watson and Crick win the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of DNA, but Watson reveals much about what makes a Creative Genius tick (which Greene's book does not). One of these ingredients is non-conformity, even non-conformity with the mainstream of one's own field of research. Watson is non-conformist to the point of embarrassment, revealing his arguments with colleagues whom I would describe as Ingenious Followers in part at least (as well as those colleagues' own weaknesses). Secondly, Creative Geniuses have an unusually strong motivation typically. In the case of Watson and Crick, they had a competitive spirit to win against their colleagues (who were also trying to unravel DNA) in the race for the discovery, and their competitive spirit was an absolute obsession "day and night". Thirdly, they built ingenious toy models of DNA with movable parts which enabled them to use more sensory modalities to help them think. Fourthly, they kept up completely with what their rivals were doing, which is to say that they sought and used information wisely and in a timely manner. Fifth, they used the computer technology of their era to the fullest (which Creative Geniuses sometimes do not do - compare Roger Penrose, whose books I have reviewed). Sixth, they were incredibly mobile - they went to different countries frequently to learn, to attend seminars, to talk with experts in particular areas, especially countries in Europe (where Creative Geniuses are more common, in my opinion, than in most parts of the world). You will find many other characteristics of Creative Geniuses by reading the Watson-Crick story yourself.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen HISTORICAL MEMOIR WITH UNINTENDED LESSONS, 28. April 2000
Years ago when I first read James Watson's folksy book on his co-discovery I thought, "my how far an ambitious ornithologist can fly." But I saluted Watson's seemingly unvarnished candor then, and years later I can still manage a sloppy salute.
Watson's account discusses the various intrigues such as with Peter, Linus Pauling's son; and some downright espionage leading to the important discovery with Crick [and a phantom Rosalind Franklin] that a double helix is naturally assumed by pairs of DNA. Misogyny seems to lurk behind every condescension towards women and womanhood liberally expressed by Watson. One wonders whether absent his shared Nobel Prize, Watson would get away with it.
In all probability, had Pauling reported the double helix first thus collecting his third Nobel Prize (!) and Watson was just another chronicler of DNA's lab history the scientific community would not be so tolerant towards a man who remains nearly pathologically dismissive of women in science. Alas, Alfred Nobel didn't stipulate good manners as a condition for awarding the prize bearing his name. Be that as it may, the now classical memoir by a co-discoverer of the double helix has merit for its place in time and should be read by students and other citizens. What it lacks as a primer of ethics it makes up for in its quasi-truthfulness.
The Double Helix contains pedestrian writing that describes a great event. DNA is spectacular. The book about its discovery is merely fair.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent for everyone, but only one voice, 4. August 1998
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Adam Piontek "made to order" (New York, NY USA) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Double Helix (Mentor) (Taschenbuch)
This book is exceptional for anyone wishing to know the tale of the "discovery" of DNA. It's great for knowing how exciting science can be (and should be) for the people involved. It's great in that it doesn't require too much, if any, technical knowledge to understand. My *only* complaint is inevitible -- it's one participant's view. I read this years ago, so I don't remember how much, if at all, Dr. Watson dealt with this, but how sad that the female scientist who the got much of their information from was not honored and is pretty much forgotten by most people, simply because she died before they were up for the Nobel Prize (the Nobel foundation doesn't award posthumously). And how ironic that she died from cancer brought on (most likely) by the machinerey she used to do her science.
Read this book, it's great. Just keep some solemnity for those whose voices aren't quite heard.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen How to Become Better Informed about Rosalind Franklin:, 17. Oktober 1999
Several previous reviewers of "The Double Helix" have, rightly it seems, upbraided Watson for his negative portrait of Rosalind Franklin and his downplaying of her contributions to his and Crick's elucidation of the structure of DNA. The new book by Meyer Friedman and Gerald Friedland, "Medicine's Ten Greatest Discoveries," of course contains a chapter on this achievement, interestingly entitled "Maurice Wilkins and DNA." It tells the story of Franklin's involvement with the DNA research and the political abuse to which she was treated during her fellowship at Kings College London--a post from which she was ultimately fired. It also shows how Franklin's conflict with Wilkins--and his with her--probably cost the two of them the first prize in the race for the discovery. It was a race which Watson & Crick won by a whisker.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen A peek inside an ivory tower, 25. Februar 2000
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Chad M. Brick (Japan) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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Double Helix is a worthy read. In a few hours of reading, one catches a fairly representative look into the scientific commmunity, though the eyes of one man. Some people critique this book as being one-sided. Of course it is! Watson admitted that up front. The book was written as an account his perceptions of the events and people involved with the discovery of the structure of DNA, not as a documentary. Like any human, Watson's perceptions of the events were scewed in his own favor. This, however, adds to the value of the book, rather than detracts. From my experience in the scientific community, the issues of ownership of ideas and work, plagarism, and politics are both real and complex. Double Helix does a good job of exemplifying these difficult issues.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen It does not distort the facts; pay attention when you read!, 14. Mai 2000
I read this book for the first time when i took undergraduate biochemistry in college. I could not put it down. Now, ten years later, i found it at a second-hand store and re-read it, and once again read it in two sittings. This book reads like a thriller. You definitively catch a sense of the urgency of their research. I was flipping pages nervously, like i didn't know Watson and Crick were the ones who won the race.
In the edition i have, Watson is very thankful about the contributions that Rosalind Franklin made to their discovery. He is crystal clear about how she was the one convinced that the backbone was on the outside, and had not he followed her advice, it would have taken him even longer to figure out the structure, and who knows?, Pauling might have gotten there first. In the epilogue, Watson is all praise about Rosalind, acknowledges how his opinions about her were often wrong, how excellent the quality of her work was, and ponders about the obstacles that she encountered in her career in science for being a woman.
I wonder if these comments were missing in other people's books, because according to their critiques, one comes out with the idea that Watson and the male-dominated scientific establishment gave Rosalind the cancer that killed her.
This is an excellent, honest account of an event that took place when the author was 25 years old. I could not believe my eyes when i read that sentence. Twenty-five, worrying about girls and tennis and the structure of the most important molecule in the universe. These facts might count for something. This is a must-read book, for everybody, whether you understand science or not.
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1.0 von 5 Sternen Yes indeedy, this is a quick piece of fiction., 9. Januar 2000
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Double Helix (Mentor) (Taschenbuch)
As a science teacher it is horrifying to me that anyone is being required to read this self-serving piece of fiction for a science class. (Unless perhaps as a negative example of deplorable ethics.) Watson's account of the discovery of the structure of the DNA helix is so fraught with falsehoods that it could at best only be called historical fiction. His need to vilify and degrade Rosalind Franklin (whose essential (and stolen) work he used) can hardly be something that is admirable. For a factual account of events read Rosalind Franklin & DNA by Anne Sayre instead. No, it will not be an easy read, but you will certainly get a different view and it is backed up with facts and dates.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen The Double Helix provided the true adventure for discovery., 10. August 1998
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Double Helix (Mentor) (Taschenbuch)
The Double Helix refreshed my view of scientific research. The novel gave a closer look into the discoverers and how an amazing task, such as the discovery of the structure of DNA, is produced. I chose to read this book for my AP Biology class and was not enthusiastic in the beginning. I believed that I would need a medical dictionary at my side for reference. However, my hypothesis was disproven and I understood the makings of the DNA. The only minor flaw that I can discover is that even though the technical language is explained there is still quite alot of it. Therefore, examine it carefully. The Double Helix provided a fresh new outlook on scientific research.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent Insight, 10. September 1999
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Double Helix (Mentor) (Taschenbuch)
James Watson's book, The Double Helix, gives the not-so-scientific public excellent insight into how the scientific process was put to work less than fifty years ago to make a discovery that changed everything we know about biology and medicine. In an age where science is becoming increasingly important yet even less understood, this book portrays science as the dectective story that it is while throwing a delightfully human light on the scientists whose passion it is to unravel the puzzell. A quick, enjoyable, and necessary read for anyone who is or ever has been interested in science, as well as anyone else who likes a good "detective" story.
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