Dr. James D. Watson
James D. Watson was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1928 and educated at the University of Chicago. In 1953, while at Cambridge University, he and Francis Crick successfully proposed the double helical structure for DNA, a feat described by Sir Peter Medawar as “the greatest achievement of science in the twentieth century.” For this work, Watson and Crick, together with Maurice Wilkins, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. While a Professor at Harvard, Watson commenced a writing career that generated the seminal text, Molecular Biology of the Gene, the best-selling autobiographical volume, The Double Helix, and most recently Avoid Boring People. Later, while leading the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, he was a driving force behind setting up the Human Genome Project, a major factor in his receipt in 1993 of the Copley Medal from the Royal Society that elected him a member in 1981. Dr. Watson has received honorary degrees from many universities including The University of Chicago (1961), Harvard University (1978), Cambridge University (1993), University of Oxford (1995), Trinity College, Dublin (2001), and Uppsala University (2007). Among many honors, Watson was elected in 1962 to the National Academy of Sciences and, in 1977, received from President Ford the Medal of Freedom. He received the National Medal of Science in December 1997, the City of Philadelphia Liberty Medal on July 4, 2000, the Benjamin Franklin Medal awarded by the American Philosophical Society in 2001. Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed him an honorary Knight of the British Empire on January 1, 2002. He received the Capo d’Orlando Prize in Vico Equense, Italy in 2009 and the Prizvanie Award in Moscow, Russia in 2010. Dr. Watson has served the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in several capacities since 1968 [Director 1968-1994, President 1994-2003, Chancellor 2003-2007] and currently is Chancellor Emeritus.