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Newspapers, school and religion


Interest in current affairs
James Watson Scientist
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My interest was defined by the term 'current affairs'. So, I was probably a premature reader, and that my vocabulary was probably several years in advance, so... my reading vocabulary.

[Q] Were you reading newspapers? What?

Yes, then we had a morning newspaper, The Chicago Tribune, and then there was an afternoon paper, The Daily News, and during then The Tribune was run by the very wealthy Robert McCormick, and the McCormick's, I think, were engrained... I forget, they were one of Chicago's wealthiest families, and he was this most noted isolationist. After World War I, he did not want to American lives sent for a funeral.

American molecular biologist James Dewey Watson is probably best known for discovering the structure of DNA for which he was jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins. His long career has seen him teaching at Harvard and Caltech, and taking over the directorship of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. From 1988 to 1992, James Watson was head of the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health. His current research focuses on the study of cancer.

Listeners: Martin Raff Walter Gratzer

Martin Raff is a Canadian-born neurologist and research biologist who has made important contributions to immunology and cell development. He has a special interest in apoptosis, the phenomenon of cell death.



Listen to Martin Raff at Web of Stories



Walter Gratzer is Emeritus Professor of Biophysical Chemistry at King's College London, and was for most of his research career a member of the scientific staff of the Medical Research Council. He is the author of several books on popular science. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard and has known Jim Watson since that time

Tags: The Chicago Tribune, The Daily News, Robert McCormick

Duration: 1 minute, 13 seconds

Date story recorded: November 2008 and October 2009

Date story went live: 18 June 2010