James Watson – The Nobel Laureate’s Journey
Wealth, fame, and success stay with no one individual forever. A few are born in wealth, many work hard and earn a fortune, while others get lucky. However, no matter how the money comes in, if the person is not careful enough, it might all be gone too soon. While speaking of wealth and fame, it is, however, only the celebrities from entertainment that people talk about. However, there are many more inspiring people whose lives we could look up too.
Some people manage to earn money and fame while changing the world for good. Yes, we are talking about the eminent scientists who changed the world. And while doing so, they also grew their bank balances significantly in the process.
Here’s one genius who not just changed history with his findings, but also went on to win the Nobel Prize. However, that’s not where the story ends or the interesting part. It was how his life took him on a roller coaster journey that he had to sell his noble prize for money, but he bounced back and continues to be an inspiration in more than one way.
Who Is He?
James Watson is a molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, as James Dewey Watson KBE. He got his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Chicago in 1947 and got his Ph. D. from Indiana University. James Watson then spent a post-doctoral year at the University of Copenhagen, along with Herman Kalckar and Ole Maaløe.
After getting his doctoral degree in zoology in 1950, he shifted from Indiana to Copenhagen and continued to research at the National Research Council. In 1953, Watson identified the essential components of a DNA and found that four organic bases link to form pairs. James Watson identified the structure of DNA in 1962. That’s how he, along with Cricks, came up with the molecular model of DNA, which is the double helix. It was this study that went on to win him a Nobel prize.
Life after the Nobel Prize
He then worked at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as their director, where he was focusing his research on cancer studies.
He was instrumental in driving the institution to become a world-leading research center for cancer. James Watson then went on to serve as the president of the organization from 1994. However, he had to resign in 2007, following his comments on race and intelligence.
The Low Point
After the controversial statement made it to the newsstands, CSHL severing all ties with the scientist and stripping him of all the honors and titles they had bestowed upon him. The scientific community too turned their back on him, and he soon disappeared into oblivion. John had to put up his Nobel Prize for sale in 2014 as he needed money.
Getting Back the Nobel Prize
Mr. Usmanov, a Russian philanthropist, and entrepreneur, was the one to buy this. It cost him a whopping $4.76 million along with the auction commission. However, Usmanov gave the medal back to Watson as the scientist truly deserves the medal.
Usmanov went on to make an official statement and say that it was tragic for a scientist like James Watson to put his Nobel Prize for sale. And that’s why he decided to buy it in the auction and return it to the rightful owner.
Getting the Nobel Prize back was not however, the place where the story ends. The scientist is now 93 years old and has been living in New York away from the media glare. However, he was in the news yet again in 2019 when a year-old documentary featuring his racial comments. And the scientific community was in shock again. His statements were in bad taste, one cannot deny the contributions he has made to science.
His life serves as an inspiration to all those people who wish to pursue their passion for finding great success, fame, and wealth. However, it also has a lesson to remember that no amount of intelligence and power gives a person to be hurtful or distasteful remarks and get away with it. Isn’t it amazing how people inspire us not just by following their aspirations, but also from the slips in their life?
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