James Watson was Re: The Nobel Prize

Noelle S. Green-Willms nsg1 at cornell.edu
Mon Sep 29 07:50:32 EST 1997

> We just had a seminar on Rosalind Franklin today and the students were
> wondering, "If Watson would have treated Franklin the same way had she been
> a man?"  I said I would throw the question out to the group for comments.
> They also said she should have won the Nobel Prize had she lived.  They
> would have not awarded it to Wilkins but, I think really didn't like to give
> it Watson.  

This doesn't directly answer the question as to whether Watson would have
treated Franklin the same way had she been a man, but I think it gives you
a hint that the answer to that is "no".

James Watson gave two talks here at Cornell a few years ago, after one of
the talks there was a "Meet the Speaker" for graduate students, which I
attended.  At this gathering (close to half the students there were women)
Watson was asked several questions about Rosalind Franklin and whether she
should have received the Nobel had she not died prior to its being
awarded.  Basically what Watson said was that Franklin didn't deserve the
Nobel because she wasn't very feminine and wasn't nice to him.  Not too
long after commenting on Franklin, Watson went on to say that the only
reason women go to graduate school is to find husbands.  The faculty host
whisked him a way rather quickly after that, which was probably a good

Oh, did I forget to mention that in his non-science talk he showed photos
of a CSH gathering back in the 50's or 60's and commented on the physical
attributes of several of the women in the pictures?

Noelle S. Green-Willms
Graduate Student

Section of Genetics & Development
Cornell University

nsg1 at cornell.edu

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