Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction The Double Helix Analysis

Watson, in his preface to The Double Helix, indicates that his goal in writing the book was to re-create the atmosphere of the early 1950’s Cambridge, to describe the characters of the involved scientists, and to demonstrate that science rarely progresses in “straightforward logical manner.” He mentions that his views will seem biased to those scientists who participated in the discovery of the structure of DNA. This latter viewpoint was correct, for several participants were outraged by its publication. Yet Bragg, in writing the foreword to The Double Helix, stresses the impor-tance of the author’s personal impressions of how the structure of DNA was discovered.

Watson’s goals in writing the book were reached. His account helps the reader to feel the actual excitement of scientific discovery. He clearly demonstrates the haphazard scientific process, in which scientists stumble their way to a breakthrough. Such an account is of great importance to young readers, most of whom have been taught the clean, orderly scientific method in public schools. Watson presents science in all of its beauty—and in its ugliness as well. He shows the human side of science, including how politics permeates the scientific establishment. At the same time, he describes how he and Crick resisted the system and used considerable creativity in making a tremendous discovery.

Scientific creativity is a major attractive feature of this book for young readers. Watson and Crick did not perform years of laborious experiments en route to their discovery. Instead,...

(The entire section is 648 words.)