James D. Watson – 1928–
During the early 1950s, this Chicago-born geneticist and biophysicist worked in England with Francis Crick on the puzzle of DNA structure. In 1953, Watson made the breakthrough discovery that the principal DNA components were linked in pairs. This insight led him and Crick to establish the double helix molecular model for DNA, which quickly gave rise to an explanation of how the molecule encodes and transmits genetic information. Watson and Crick (with Maurice Wilkins) shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.