Update 12/04/2014: James Watson's 1962 Nobel Prize for the discovery of DNA's double helix sells for $4.1 million at auction, above its expected selling range of $2.5-3.5 million. Two additional sets of documents belonging to Watson, his original Nobel banquet speech and Nobel lecture manuscript, both sold within their estimated amounts, for $300,000 and $200,000, respectively.
James Watson, the famed molecular biologist and co-discoverer of DNA's molecular structure, is putting his Nobel Prize up for auction. This sad final chapter to his career traces back to racist remarks he made in 2007, which led to his fall from scientific grace.
Watson is best known for his work deciphering the DNA double helix alongside Francis Crick in 1953. The discovery revolutionized biochemistry and earned the pair and their colleague, molecular biologist Maurice Wilkins, the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. But in 2007 Watson made an incendiary remark regarding the intelligence of black people that lost him the admiration of the scientific community.
That year, The Sunday Times quoted Watson as saying that he felt “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.” He added that although some think that all humans are born equally intelligent, “people who have to deal with black employees find this not true.”