Nobelist Watson to speak on campus

Dr. James Watson, who shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discovering the structure of DNA, will speak on campus Sept. 20 on "Rules for Science."

He will speak from 5 to 6:15 p.m in the Excellence in Education Foundation Auditorium on the North Campus.

The lecture is sponsored by the Sara and Frank McKnight Fund for Research in Biochemistry and the UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

"It is a special treat to have Jim Watson come to visit us at UT Southwestern Medical Center," said Dr. Steven McKnight, chairman of biochemistry and the benefactor who, along with his wife, Jackie, established the McKnight Fund in honor of his parents. "Dr. Watson is an icon of 20th century science, yet also a demonstrated administrative leader and visionary.

"Dr. Watson is coming to Dallas to share his wisdom with our trainees, but also to visit with scientific friends and colleagues whom he has known for decades."

Dr. Watson's background was in zoology, then viruses, before he became interested in the action and structure of DNA. He was just 23 when he and his colleague, the late Dr. Francis Crick, made their groundbreaking discovery of the now-familiar double helix.

They not only established the shape, but they also postulated the rule that the two sides are complementary: adenine (A) bonds only with thymine (T) and guanine (G) with cytosine (C) -- a structure that allows DNA to replicate itself.

The profound finding took only slightly more than a page to report in the journal Nature.

Dr. Watson is currently chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York and also served as head of the Human Genome Project. His many awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

A reception after Dr. Watson's lecture will be held on the 14th floor of the new Biomedical Research Tower.