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Quotes from
The Double Helix

This page gives a small few quotes that I came across in the book and thought deserved a spot on this page!

(Page 21) "Our first principles told us that Pauling could not be the greatest of all chemists without realizing that DNA was the most golden of all molecules."

I thought that this quote emphasizes that the author really believes that DNA is very important and that he will probably have competition soon because more and more chemists are going to start realizing this also.

(Page 28) "Suddenly I was excited about chemistry. Before Maurice's talk I had worried about the possibility that the gene might be fantastically irregular. Now, however, I kew that genes could crystallize; hence they must have a regular structure that could be solved in a straightforward fasion."

I selected this pasage because I thought that it was unique in a way that he was thinking about something and made a connection and realized that building the structure would be possible, which led him to get cranking on finding a structure.

(Page 108) "Thus by the time I had cycled back to college and climbed over the back gate, I had decided to build two-chain models. Francis would have to agree. Even though he was a physicist, he knew that important biological objects come in pairs.

I like this quote because it was a huge step towards the right answer, and he wasn't really aware of it at all. His only reason for trying it was because important biological objects come in pairs. This makes me wonder, though, why they tried a three-chained model first.

(Page 134) "Rosy's instant acceptance of our model at first amazed me. I had feared that her sharp, stubborn mind, caught in her self-made antihelical trap, might dig up irrelevant results that would foster uncertainty about the correctness of the double helix."

This quote reflects the feelings that Watson felt towards Rosy. At one point in the book, Watson was talking about how helices make sense for DNA and Rosy was telling him that she had evidence supporting that DNA is not helical. It is easy to see that Watson was sexist, also. He seems like he might have just assumed she was wrong or stupid because she was a woman.

(Page 66) "Rosy did not give a hoot about the priority of the creation of the helical theory and, as Francis prattled on, she displayed increasing irritation. The sermon was unnecessary, since to her mind there was not a shred of evidence that DNA was helical."

This quote further describes the feelings that Watson felt towards Rosy. He sounds very very biased and very critical. He has absolutely no respect for her opinion and saw her as the one who couldn't think out of the box.

(Page 122) "Though my immediate reaction was to hop that Jerry was blowing hot air, I did not dismiss his criticism...Thoroughly worried, I went back to my desk hoping that some gimmick might emrge to slavage the like-with-like idea."

I picked this quote out of the book because I wanted to pick out an example of how scientists are so unwilling to change their ideas or theories until there is absolutely no question that their theories just don't work at all. And then when they need a new theory, they typically just make some minor adjustments to their previous ones.

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