Why no one wants to hear from James Watson

The co-recipient of the Nobel for revealing the double-helix structure of DNA is selling his medal because "no one really wants to admit" he exists — but why is that?

Because he says racist, sexist, jerky things in public, leading people to suspect that he is a racist, sexist jerk.

Adam Rutherford has a great editorial explaining how we can honor great scientific achievements without giving scientists a free pass to be terrible people.

But it's not awful. Watson has said that he is "not a racist in a conventional way". But he told the Sunday Times in 2007 that while people may like to think that all races are born with equal intelligence, those "who have to deal with black employees find this not true". Call me old-fashioned, but that sounds like bog-standard, run-of-the-mill racism to me.

And this current whinge bemoans a new poverty born of his pariah status. Apart "from my academic income", he says, Watson is condemned to a miserly wage that prevents him from buying a David Hockney painting.

He may have unravelled DNA, but James Watson deserves to be shunned [Adam Rutherford/The Guardian]

(via Geek Feminism)

(Image: James Watson Rap, Steve Jurvetson, CC-BY)