James D. Watson Biography | Author of The Double Helix

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James Dewey Watson was born in Chicago, on April 6, 1928. He was an exceptionally bright child who excelled far beyond his school course work, resulting in early high school graduation. As an adolescent, Watson became one of the original "Quiz Kids," named for a radio show featuring young people competing in games of intelligence. At age sixteen, Watson entered the University of Chicago, earning his bachelor's degree in zoology in 1947. Three years later he completed his graduate and doctoral studies at Indiana University, earning his Ph.D. in genetics with a dissertation concerning the lethal effect of X-rays on bacterial viruses.

Watson showed no interest in genetics as an undergraduate, concentrating instead on one of his favorite subjects, ornithology, the study of birds. During his graduate studies, however, Watson read a book called What Is Life? by Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger. Some of Schrödinger' s...

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This section contains 387 words
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The Double Helix from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.