James Watson is a biochemist and Nobel laureate. He attended school at the University of Indiana, after graduating from the university he joined of the faculty at Harvard University. Before joining the faculty at Harvard he did postgraduate work with Francis Crick in the Cavendish lab, at the University of Cambridge.
Watson and Crick worked out the deoxyribonucleic acid molecule. This is a substance that transmits the genetic characteristics from one generation to the next. They both thought that it should be possible to correctly guess it’s structure, given the experimental evidence of King’s College. They also thought they could figure out the possible stereochemical configurations of polynucleotide chains. They did there first serious effort, in the late fall of 1951 and it turned out to be unsatisfactory. On their second effort they had more experimental evidence, and put more appreciation into the nucleic acid literature.
Watson not only worked on the DNA structure he also did some work with Alexander Rich on the RNA. Another one of Watson’s experiments was the structure of TMV, using X-ray diffraction techniques. This was to see if chemical sub-units, were helically arranged. This was achieved in 1952, when use of the Cavendish’s newly constructed rotating anode X-ray tubes allowed an unambiguous demonstration of the helical construction of the virus.
Watson and Crick have helped the world in more ways than one. By experimenting with DNA they have helped us to figure out human genetic questions. Their experiments also can lead into other things, such as maybe cloning the human DNA strand.