FRANCIS CRICK AND JAMES WATSON by Edward Edelson

FRANCIS CRICK AND JAMES WATSON

and the Building Blocks of Life
Age Range: 12 - 15
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This latest addition to the Portraits in Science series is somewhat disjointed and unfocused. Edelson attempts to cover the lives of two extraordinary scientists from very different backgrounds who came together for a brief period of time (three years) and were considered the first to describe the structure of DNA in 1953. James Watson, an American biochemist from Chicago, met Francis Crick, an older British physicist, at the Cavendish Laboratory of Cambridge University in England in 1951. Both brilliant, their genius was in their collaboration in “determining the structure of the molecule that made up human genes, deoxyribonucleic acid, abbreviated as DNA.” The tone of the book is both direct and complex, e.g., “Now Watson and Crick had their model: two DNA chains, coiled as alpha helixes 20 angstrom units in diameter, making a complete turn every 34 angstrom units, with the bases in each chain 3.4 angstrom units apart.” An already complicated portrait of Watson and Crick is further diffused by sidebars on the topics of Mendelian genetics, the Waring Blendor, solving the Sickle-cell puzzle and the first cloned mammals. Well-versed scientists may find this volume interesting; however, others will find it just too difficult. (b&w photos and drawings, chronology, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-19-511451-5
Page count: 110pp
Publisher: Oxford Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1998