James Watson: You Have To Be Obsessive

James Watson, author of The Double Helix, talks with TIME's Michael Lemonick about his career as scientist, teacher and administrator

WHY DID YOU AND FRANCIS CRICK SOLVE THE STRUCTURE OF DNA BEFORE ANYONE ELSE?

People say we didn't deserve to solve it, and it's true that we were lucky, but we did deserve it, for a number of reasons. First, we thought it was the most important problem around. Others didn't realize that. Second, most people thought it couldn't be solved by building models--they thought you needed to get the answer primarily from X-ray crystallography of DNA. Rosalind Franklin's made that mistake. But we said, "It worked for Linus Pauling when he solved the structure of the alpha helix, so why...

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