James D. Watson
#96 Overall Influence

James D. Watson

American molecular biologist, geneticist, and zoologist

About

Why is this person notable and influential?

James D. Watson is a zoologist, geneticist and molecular biologist. He earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. He is most recently well-known due to his controversial comments about race and genetics, for which he has been largely ostracized.

Prior to his unfortunate foray into racial genetics, he was highly regarded for his work on molecular biology. He is credited for significant contributions to our understanding of cancer, neurological diseases and the genetic basis for cancer and other diseases.

He worked closely with Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins on groundbreaking research on the structure of nucleic acid. Their work was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The discovery of the double helix is considered one of the more pivotal discoveries in science. He has also written a number of books, including a textbook, Molecular Biology of the Gene and The Double Helix.

His body of work has been undermined by his positions on homosexuality, obesity, intellect, and physical attractiveness - traits for which he promoted genetic manipulation. In his view, measures should be taken to selectively reproduce to increase intelligence or physical attractiveness, and to decrease “unfavorable” traits such as a propensity for obesity.

Featured in Top Influential Biologists Today

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Schools

What schools is this person affiliated with?
University of Chicago
University of Chicago

Private research university in Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Harvard University
Harvard University

Private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

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Indiana University Bloomington
Indiana University Bloomington

Public research university located in Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.

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University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge

Collegiate public research university in Cambridge, England, United Kingdom

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Notable Works

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Influence Rankings by Discipline

How’s this person influential?
#12 World Rank #5 USA Rank
Biology
#61 World Rank #11 USA Rank
Chemistry
#176 World Rank #44 USA Rank
Physics