Our Cavendish typist was not on hand, and the brief job was given to my sister. There was no problem persuading her to spend a Saturday afternoon this way, for we told her that she was participating in perhaps the most famous event in biology since Darwin's book (140).
At times, the complexities of science do intrude into the reader's desire to understand what is happening. For example, at one point two of the major players are arguing over a technical point:
Even as the report of the discovery is being typed up, the author includes the human element at the heart of the scene:
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.
Watson, James D.