Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:
The book review by Derry W. Jones (IUCr Newsletter, (2008) V16, n2, 21), ends with, 'Crystallographers who have not read any of Watson's recent books should sample this one first.' This crystallographer and a retired chemistry professor is shocked that the latest book by 'HONEST JIM' is accorded the honor to be reviewed in the International newsletter devoted to Crystallography in all its manifestations.
James D. Watson is not, never was a crystallographer in any sense of the discipline, not even on the fringes far removed from any possible remote relationship to crystallography. Worse yet, he was abysmally ignorant of any aspects of chemistry involving purines and pyrimidines as is evident from the sketches, drawn by him in his book 'The Double Helix', of guanine, adenine, thymine and cytosine. One must give credit to 'Honest Jim' for explicitly though belatedly acknowledging, in one of his seminars away from Cold Spring Harbor, that there was another person deserving of a Nobel Prize for the elucidation of the three dimensional structure of DNA, at the molecular level. It was none other than Jerry Donohue.
Even after adding the Epilogue to his original 'The Double Helix', he never gives full credit to the far superior crystallographic knowledge Rosalind Franklin had and he was fully aware of the helical nature of the structural features based upon her experimental X-ray diffraction work on the sodium salt of DNA fibres.
Brahama D. Sharma