James Watson's Nobel Prize medal. Photo: AP/Christie's
James Watson's Nobel Prize medal. Photo: AP/Christie's

Nobel Prize medal goes under the hammer

Nobel Prize laureate James Watsen is to sell the gold medal he won in 1962 for his part in discovering the structure of the DNA-molecule. This is the first Nobel medal that will be sold while the recipient is still alive.

The medal will go under the hammer at Christie's auctioning house in New York on the 4th of December, together with Watson's notes for his acceptance speech and the manuscript for his Nobel lecture. The medal is expected to go for up to $3,5 million.

The American tv-channel CNN reports that Watson intends to use part of the money raised by the sale to fund projects at the universities and scientific research institutions he has worked at throughout his career. In a statement, Watson said the auction would mean he could "continue to do my part in keeping the academic world an environment where great ideas and decency prevail."

The now 85-year old Watson was awarded the prize together with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins. CNN reports that Watson and Crick in 1953 came to the conclusion that DNA was formed by two twisted strands of molecules, like the rungs of a ladder, holding the iconic double helix structure together. "All we could say when we got it: It's so beautiful!" Watson said.

Their discovery explained how DNA stores information and how it is replicated. 

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