Friday, December 4, 2009

Thoughts on "Race for the Double Helix"

After viewing the video: "Race for the Double Helix" respond to:

1.) Watson and Crick clearly made use of the ideas and results of other scientists research in pursuing their goal, including work by Linus Pauling, Erwin Chargaff and Rosalind Franklin. Sharing of knowledge is a foundation of scientific investigation. It has been suggested that the use of Rosalind Franklin’s information without her permission or knowledge was unethical on the part of Watson and Crick. Do you agree or disagree? Was Pauling’s and Chargaff’s information also used improperly? Thoughts?

2.) Rosalind Franklin was a meticulous lab scientist who avoided any sort of speculation. She relied on hard evidence – the factual data – before drawing any conclusions. Watson and Crick on the other hand, did no labor-intensive research and merely postulated a possible structure for DNA. Was Watson and Crick’s approach to solving the problem “less scientific” than Franklin’s? Do you think there is value in scientific speculation? Here is a link to a nice blog post in the New York Times that might help you think about this issue.