Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Science | By

Nobel Laureate James Watson Loses Titles Over Race Comments

Nobel Laureate James Watson Loses Titles Over Race Comments

A NY laboratory has cut ties with James Watson, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist who helped discover DNA, over "reprehensible" comments in which he said race and intelligence are connected.

"Dr. Watson's statements are reprehensible, unsupported by science, and in no way represent the views of CSHL, its trustees, faculty, staff, or students. The laboratory condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice".

A Nobel Prize-winning American scientist who co-discovered DNA has been stripped of his honourary titles after repeating racist comments in a documentary.

But Cold Spring Harbor said it was now stripping him of those titles after he said his views had not changed in the documentary American Masters: Decoding Watson, aired on United States public broadcaster PBS earlier this month.

He added that while he hoped everyone was equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this is not true".

In 1962, the team was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology "for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material".

Despite almost half a century service to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), Watson, a world-renowned geneticist, lost all of his honorary titles of Chancellor Emeritus, Oliver R. Grace Professor Emeritus and Honorary Trustee, for refusing to retract his own scientific conclusions.


In that interview, Watson said that his views had not changed and he had not "seen any knowledge" negating his belief that there is a genetic connection between race and intelligence, the Times wrote.

In the film, Watson references a view that average IQ differences between blacks and whites reflect underlying genetic differences shaped by natural selection.

Dr Watson became Cold Spring Harbor's director in 1968, its president in 1994 and chancellor a decade later. His collaboration with Francis Crick at Cambridge...

An apology and retraction was issued by Watson that year following worldwide public outcry, although reports noted the scientists' statement rang false. "Nonetheless, the statements he made in the documentary are completely and utterly incompatible with our mission, values, and policies, and require the severing of any remaining vestiges of his involvement".

CNN has attempted to reach Watson for comment.

Dr Watson sold his gold medal in 2014, saying he had been ostracised by the scientific community after his remarks about race.

The magazine also noted that Crick was quoted in the 1993 book Nobel Prize Women in Science as admitting, "I'm afraid we always used to adopt - let's say, a patronizing attitude towards her".

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