James Watson

Nobel laureate Dr. James D. Watson, Chancellor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

In 1953, an earnest and ambitious 25-year-old scientist nmaed James Watson made a groundbreaking discovery that helped revolutionize science, medicine, even the law.

Working alongside Francis Crick, Watson identified the double-helix structure of DNA.

That breakthrough earned Watson and Crick the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1962. Watson wrote a book explaining the double helix.

I met him in 2002, when he published another book, which he called “Genes, Girls, and Gamow.” That was a reference to George Gamow, a pioneering theoretical physicist who contributed to, and built on, Watson and crick’s work.
From the moment I met him, Watson won me over with his warmth, humanity, and roll sense of humor.

So here now, from 2002, James Watson.

James Watson celebrated his 93rd birthday last week. We’re not sure if you ever got an email account.

Wangari Maathai

She was the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize.

Kenyan-born Wangari Maathai was educated in the U.S., then returned to Kenya and became a social, environmental and political activist

Photo: Kingkongphoto & www.celebrity-photos.com

In 1977, when she was 37 years old, Wangari Maathai established what she called the “Green Belt Movement.”

What started as a modest effort to improve the environment and natural resources grew into a major environmental — and women’s rights — effort. And it frequently got Maathai in trouble.

I met her 14 years ago when she wrote a book about her life and her work.

Here now, from 2006, Wangari Maathai.

Wangari Maathai died in 2011 after fighting ovarian cancer at age 71. She is buried at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies in Nairobi, Kenya.