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A collection of quotes and thoughts by James D. Watson on death, books, education, family, sayings, facts, significant, fear, power, science and success.

70 Inspiring Quotes By James D. Watson For The Boffins

Quick Facts

Born On: April 6, 1928

Born In: Chicago, Illinois, U.S

James D. Watson is a noteworthy American zoologist, molecular biologist and geneticist. He is renowned for having co-discovered the structure of DNA with Rosalind Franklin and Francis Crick in 1953. In 1962, he was awarded the ‘Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine’ along with Maurice Wilkins and Crick for their path breaking discoveries ‘in the field of molecular structure of nucleic acids and their significance for information transfer in living material’. He has authored a number of bestselling science books including ‘The Double Helix’ and ‘Molecular Biology Of The Gene’ amongst various others. We have rounded some insightful, thought-provoking and notable quotes and sayings by the eminent scientist which have been curated from the vast sea of his writings, researches, thoughts, books, discoveries, work and life. Go through the quotes and thoughts by James D. Watson on power, die, science, achievements, problem, understand, dream, trust, chance, adventure, dna, love, knowledge, opportunity, biology, interesting, respect, freedom and more that will give you a glimpse of his prolific mind.
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Today, the theory of evolution is an accepted fact for everyone but a fundamentalist minority, whose objections are based not on reasoning but on doctrinaire adherence to religious principles.

James D. Watson

My parents made it clear that I should never display even the slightest disrespect to individuals who had the power to let me skip a half grade or move into more challenging classes. While it was all right for me to know more about a topic than my sixth-grade teacher had ever learned, questioning her facts could only lead to trouble.

James D. Watson

People say we are playing God. My answer is: If we don't play God, who will?

James D. Watson

[As a young man ] I came to the conclusion that the church was just a bunch of fascists that supported Franco. I stopped going on Sunday mornings and watched the birds with my father instead.

James D. Watson

At lunch Francis winged into the Eagle to tell everyone within hearing distance that we had found the secret of life.

James D. Watson

The ever quickening advances of science made possible by the success of the Human Genome Project will also soon let us see the essences of mental disease. Only after we understand them at the genetic level can we rationally seek out appropriate therapies for such illnesses as schizophrenia and bipolar disease.

James D. Watson

We're not all equal, it's simply not true. That isn't science.

James D. Watson

It's necessary to be slightly underemployed if you are to do something significant.

James D. Watson

It is extraordinary the extent to which Darwin's insights not only changed his contemporaries' view of the world but also continue to be a source of great intellectual stimulation for scientists and nonscientists alike.

James D. Watson

I have never seen Francis Crick in a modest mood. Perhaps in other company he is that way, but I have never had reason so to judge him.

James D. Watson

Spotting a rare bird is never worth the bite of a cur. Once bitten by a German shepherd, I knew that I preferred cats, even if they are bird-killers. Life is long enough for more than one chance at a rare bird.

James D. Watson

The time has come to seriously ask whether antioxidant use much more likely causes than prevents cancer.

James D. Watson

A clone of Einstein wouldn't be stupid, but he wouldn't necessarily be any genius, either.

James D. Watson

I want to see cancer cured in my lifetime. It might be.

James D. Watson

'Genes, Girls, and Gamow' was an attempt, even more than 'The Double Helix,' to mix science with one's personal life. With 'The Double Helix,' no one had done it before, but I thought I'd try.

James D. Watson

It's so difficult writing about living people.

James D. Watson

Some think there is something wrong about enhancing people.

James D. Watson

I am thrilled to see my genome.

James D. Watson

The luckiest thing that ever happened to me was that my father didn't believe in God, and so he had no hang-ups about souls.

James D. Watson

My heroes were never scientists. They were Graham Greene and Christopher Isherwood, you know, good writers.

James D. Watson

I wanted to see if I could write a good book.

James D. Watson

I have been much blessed.

James D. Watson

I think the reason people are dealing with science less well now than 50 years ago is that it has become so complicated.

James D. Watson

Take young researchers, put them together in virtual seclusion, give them an unprecedented degree of freedom and turn up the pressure by fostering competitiveness.

James D. Watson

My whole life has been basically trying to find intelligent students or, you know, highly motivated students and giving them an opportunity to do good science.

James D. Watson

The pace of discovery is going unbelievably fast.

James D. Watson

I had become monomaniacal about DNA only in 1951 when I had just turned 23 and as a postdoctoral fellow was temporarily in Naples attending a small May meeting on biologically important macromolecules.

James D. Watson

Genetically modified foods are good.

James D. Watson

Ultimately, we'll help the people we discriminate against if we try to understand more about them; genetics will lead to a world where there is a sympathy for the underdog.

James D. Watson

Science has always been my preoccupation and when you think a breakthrough is possible, it is terribly exciting.

James D. Watson

You've never heard of an English lover. Only an English patient.

James D. Watson

To all those who have drawn the inference from my words that Africa, as a continent, is somehow genetically inferior, I can only apologise unreservedly.

James D. Watson

As an educator, I have always striven to see that the fruits of the American Dream are available to all.

James D. Watson

If you accept that people are the products of evolution, then you have to have an open mind to the truth. Unfair discrimination exists whether we like it or not; I wouldn't have married a gum-chewing vegetarian.

James D. Watson

I never dreamed that in my lifetime my own genome would be sequenced.

James D. Watson

I wish there would be more movies about scientists.

James D. Watson

I would only once have the opportunity to let my scientific career encompass a path from the double helix to the three billion steps of the human genome.

James D. Watson

Our goal should be to understand our differences.

James D. Watson

DNA was my only gold rush. I regarded DNA as worth a gold rush.

James D. Watson

I've had strong opinions probably since I was born. It makes you unpopular, but what can you do?

James D. Watson

Science moves with the spirit of an adventure characterized both by youthful arrogance and by the belief that the truth, once found, would be simple as well as pretty.

James D. Watson

It is no coincidence that so many religious beliefs date back to times when no science could possibly have accounted satisfactorily for many of the natural phenomena inspiring scripture and myths.

James D. Watson

I don't want 100 different cures of cancer. I want, you know, give me five. So if you had, you know, five medicines, you could do away with 90 percent of cancer. That's sort of my objective. I think we're going to do it.

James D. Watson

There are many people of color who are very talented.

James D. Watson

If you succeed with your first dream, it helps. You know, people trust you, possibly, for the second one. They give you a chance to play out your second one.

James D. Watson

I don't want to die until I see cancer cured.

James D. Watson

Biology has at least 50 more interesting years.

James D. Watson

You move forward through knowledge. You prevail through knowledge. I love the word 'prevail.' Prevail!

James D. Watson

On the other hand, the sun of Naples might be conducive to learning something about the biochemistry of the embryonic development of marine animals.

James D. Watson

I have a son, who is a... not an ordinary form of schizophrenia, but clearly, cannot take care of himself. And the great fear of then, of all parents is, when the parents die, who takes care of your child? And the answer is: they become homeless.

James D. Watson

One-third of all female infertility is the result of blocked fallopian tubes. If fertilization could be done in the lab and then the fertilized egg implanted in the womb, it would get around that problem. Millions of women who cannot have children would suddenly be able to.

James D. Watson

As a child, I lived with being punier than other boys in class. The only consolation was my parents' empathy - they encouraged constant trips to the local drugstore for chocolate milk shakes to fatten me up. The shakes made me happy, but still, all through grammar school, other kids shoved me around.

James D. Watson

My wife and I have a schizophrenic son. We didn't want to accept this for 30 years, so we put him under great pressure when we shouldn't have. He just wanted to be looked after, and we didn't respect that. We tried to make him independent.

James D. Watson

I do think one success of Northern Europe, which the United States came from, was its willingness to accept innovation in business practices like Adam Smith and the whole Enlightenment. It essentially made the merchant class free instead of controlled by the king and aristocracy. That was essential.

James D. Watson

Here at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, we have genetically rearranged various viruses and bacteria as part of our medical research. In fact, we have been able to create entirely new types of DNA molecules by splicing together the genetic information from different organisms - recombinant DNA.

James D. Watson

One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.

James D. Watson

We should govern our actions by assuming that people are more good than bad. Whereas, most of our social policies dictate that people are more bad than good. That you know if you do something, it'll be seized by the rich to exploit the poor.

James D. Watson

I never could read science fiction. I was just uninterested in it. And you know, I don't like to read novels where the hero just goes beyond what I think could exist. And it doesn't interest me because I'm not learning anything about something I'll actually have to deal with.

James D. Watson

I have an odd theory on happiness, and it bothers people. My general theory is that happiness is a reward for an animal doing what it should be doing. So if a horse runs, it feels happy. Or if you are too thin, you can't be happy, because evolution wants you to be tense and anxious, trying to wake up in the morning looking for food.

James D. Watson

An idea can be tested, whereas if you have no idea, nothing can be tested and you don't understand anything. The molecule that you make when you are getting sunburned or when you eat a lot of food is part of the same molecule that contains an endorphin or an opiate. No one has ever had a hypothesis about why the two are together.

James D. Watson

If we could honestly promise young couples that we knew how to give them offspring with superior character, why should we assume they would decline? Common sense tells us that if scientists find ways to greatly improve human capabilities, there will no stopping the public from happily seizing them.

James D. Watson

By the age of 11, I was no longer going to Sunday Mass, and going on birdwatching walks with my father. So early on, I heard of Charles Darwin. I guess, you know, he was the big hero. And, you know, you understand life as it now exists through evolution.

James D. Watson

I was always very curious about what a scientist's life was like when I was young. Of course, when I was young, you didn't have very many opportunities to find out with no web, TV. I was very lucky: I was born in the city of Chicago and went to the University of Chicago where I actually saw things.

James D. Watson

I never wanted to be liked by the majority of people, but there were always some people that I desperately wanted to be liked by. And so you've got to behave in a way that... the way I put it is that if you want to be a real intellectual, you've got to have someone to save you.

James D. Watson

If someone's liver doesn't work, we blame it on the genes; if someone's brain doesn't work properly, we blame the school. It's actually more humane to think of the condition as genetic. For instance, you don't want to say that someone is born unpleasant, but sometimes that might be true.

James D. Watson

If you go into science, I think you better go in with a dream that maybe you, too, will get a Nobel Prize. It's not that I went in and I thought I was very bright and I was going to get one, but I'll confess, you know, I knew what it was.

James D. Watson

Great wealth could make an enormous difference over the next decade if they sensibly support the scientific elite. Just the elite. Because the elite makes most of the progress. You should worry about people who produce really novel inventions, not pedantic hacks.

James D. Watson

I started doing science when I was effectively 20, a graduate student of Salvador Luria at Indiana University. And that was - you know, it took me about two years, you know, being a graduate student with Luria deciding I wanted to find the structure of DNA; that is, DNA was going to be my objective.

James D. Watson

Ever since we achieved a breakthrough in the area of recombinant DNA in 1973, left-wing nuts and environmental kooks have been screaming that we will create some kind of Frankenstein bug or Andromeda Strain that will destroy us all.

James D. Watson

I first became aware of Charles Darwin and evolution while still a schoolboy growing up in Chicago. My father and I had a passion for bird-watching, and when the snow or the rain kept me indoors, I read his bird books and learned about evolution.

James D. Watson