Nobel-winning biologist James Watson stripped of titles after racist remarks, again

Watson has gotten in trouble more than a few times for racist views while Chancellor of CSHL.

The Nobel Prize-winning scientist famous for formulating the double-helix model of DNA with his partner Francis Crick in the 1950s, Dr James Watson, was stripped of all his honorary titles by the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory after they found some of his recent remarks "reprehensible", according to a CNN report.

Watson has gotten in trouble more than a few times for his remarks while serving as Chancellor of Cold Spring Harbour Laboratory (CSHL), which has reprimanded and suspended him in the past for passing offensive, racist views.

The scientist created an uproar in 2007 after he was quoted as saying to The Times how he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa", because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours – whereas all the testing says: not really".

Nobel laureate Dr James Watson, Chancellor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Image: Wikimedia Commons

Nobel laureate Dr James Watson, Chancellor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Image: Wikimedia Commons

In the same article, Watson acknowledged that his views were controversial, or, in his own words, a "hot potato". But said that while he hoped that everyone was equal, "people who have to deal with black employees find this not true".

But after being confronted with a new wave of racist comments in a PBS documentary 'American Masters: Decoding Watson', CSHL — a lab Watson had led for decades – had finally had had enough. He was quoted as saying in the documentary, "There's a difference on the average between blacks and whites on IQ tests. I would say the difference is, it's genetic."

"Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory unequivocally rejects the unsubstantiated and reckless personal opinions. Dr Watson's statements are reprehensible, unsupported by science, and in no way represent the views of CSHL… The Laboratory condemns the misuse of science to justify prejudice."

Maclyn McCarty, Francis Crick and James D Watson were the 3 researchers that took over from the work of Rosalind Franklin on the chemical nature of DNA that earned two of them the Nobel prize. Image: Wikimedia Commions

Maclyn McCarty, Francis Crick and James D Watson were the 3 researchers that took over from the work of Rosalind Franklin on the chemical nature of DNA that earned two of them the Nobel prize. Image: Wikimedia Commons

CSHL had relieved Dr Watson of any and all leadership and management duties at the lab, leaving him as an honorary figurehead considering the significance of his contributions to science.

Now, the last of those accolades have also been stripped away from him by the lab.

"In response to his most recent statements, which effectively reverse the written apology and retraction Dr Watson made in 2007, the Laboratory has taken additional steps, including revoking his honorary titles of Chancellor Emeritus, Oliver R Grace Professor Emeritus, and Honorary Trustee," the CSHL statement reads.

Dr James Watson was awarded the Nobel in 1962 for his part in discovering the 'double-helix' molecular structure of DNA. He was also one of the founding directors of the Human Genome Project.

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