2006 Prize Recipient
In 1953 James D. Watson, with 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, he and Crick, together with Maurice Wilkins, were awarded the Nobel Prize in 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 recently published DNA: The Secret of Life. 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.
Among other honors, Watson was elected in 1962 to the National Academy of Sciences and, in 1977, received from President Ford the Medal of Freedom. During the academic year 1993-94, he was the Newton-Abraham Visiting Professor and a Visiting Fellow of Lincoln College. He has received honorary degrees from many universities including the University of Cambridge (1993) and the University of Oxford (1995). Dr. Watson received the National Medal of Science in December 1997, the Philadelphia Liberty Medal on July 4, 2000, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal awarded by the American Philosophical Society. Queen Elizabeth II proclaimed him an honorary Knight of the British Empire on January 1, 2002. In November 2003, Dr. Watson became Chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.