05 December 2014

James Watson sold the Nobel medal

For the first time in history, the winner of the Nobel prize sold it at auction

Ksenia Baigarova, RIA Novosti

The Nobel medal of one of the discoverers of the structure of DNA, American scientist James Watson, sold for $ 4.1 million at auction at Christie's auction house on Thursday in New York.

The 86-year-old Watson became the first Nobel Prize winner in history to decide to sell his award.

In addition, the handwritten abstracts made by Watson for his speech at the Nobel Committee ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, 1962, as well as the manuscript and drafts of his lecture for $ 200,000 were sold for $300,000.

The scientist himself had previously stated that he would spend the funds received on charity.

"I am looking forward to making new charitable donations to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the University of Chicago and Cambridge Clare College, and thus contribute to the preservation of an academic environment where deep ideas and decency prevail," said Watson, whose statement quoted the auction house.

In 2007, Watson was forced to leave the post of head of the Cold Spring Harbor laboratory, which he headed for 25 years, studying the genetics of cancer. This happened after the scientist stated in an interview in London that the state's policy towards Africa is wrong, since it "is based on the assumption that their intelligence level is the same as ours, whereas all tests say that this is not the case."

However, Watson is known for other eccentric statements. In particular, he told the media that stupidity is a disease caused by helminthiasis, and also spoke out in favor of making all girls beautiful with the help of genetic engineering.

Watson received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962, together with his colleagues Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, for discovering the structure of the DNA molecule.

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