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James D. Watson, in The Double Helix

To say that Watson is able to explain in clear and simple terms the important, fundamental aspects of this area of science is not to say that he reduces basic complexities to a comic book level of understanding. He does not insult the reader's intelligent, and the more intelligent the reader the more this book will be appreciated. It is accessible to the lay reader, but that lay reader is required to be perceptive and educated if he or she is to truly enjoy and appreciate the book. Watson does not always stop to explain the scientific details of his story. For example, on the first page of the book proper, he writes, "He had been collecting X-ray diffraction data from hemoglobin crystals for over ten years" (15). It is clear, however, that it is not necessary for the reader to understand what this means in order to stay with and understand the story itself. For those who seek to explore this area, Watson includes a footnote referring the reader to a book which explains the X-ray diffraction technique. The reader comes to trust the author and the author's perceptions about what needs to be explained and what does not. Watson at no point is merely out to show off his education, knowledge or brilliance, but instead tells us everything we need to know when we need to know it. He never loses track of the fact that this is simultaneously a human and a scientific story.

At times, this juxtaposition of the human and the scientific

is truly humorous and shows the role which chance can at times appear to play (or almost play) in such a monumental discovery. As stated earlier, the work done by Crick and Watson depended much upon the work of Maurice Wilkins. The connection between Watson and his partner and Wilkins, however, was almost founded on an attraction between Wilkins and the author's sister. This attraction would have served two purposes, from the author's point of view. First, it offered the promise of his sister becoming involved w...

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James D. Watson, in The Double Helix. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:00, August 17, 2017, from
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