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In The Double Helix a reader can find James D Watsons first hand accounts of the competitive race in science that led to the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule The DNA research Watson and his colleagues took part in demanded knowledge in many areas of expertise but the most important area was that of X-ray analysis By creating photographic two dimensional pictures of the three dimensional DNA molecule Watson and his team were able to analyze these pictures and determine that DNA is actually shaped as a double helix structure This discovery proved to be a true scientific breakthrough ultimately winning Watson a nobel prize in 1962 The title The Double Helix refers to the complex structure of DNA however the book is not a technical work The book functions as a scientists journal about a part of his life and work leading up to his greatest achievement and its impact Watsons story starts from the fall of 1951 when he arrives at the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University and ends with the publication proposing a brilliant new structure for DNA in April of 1953 Watson originally begins working with a group studying the three-dimensional structure of proteins Then slowly he and Crick team up to investigate the structure of DNA Two scholars from Oxford Maurice Wilkins and Rosy Franklin as well as Linus Pauling from the United States were all independently studying DNA structure Toward the end of the story the book turns into a competitive race to find the true structure of the mysterious molecule Each scientist knows that there are phosphates sugars and bases involved and there are four types of nucleotides The scientists also suspect that the molecule is in some sort of helix formation Watson and his team are most motivated by the fact that renowned chemist Linus Pauling is also attempting the problem Watson and Crick have the
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