Go to contents

Nobel Prize laureate puts medal up for auction

Posted December. 01, 2014 14:25,   


“I apologise ... (the journalist) somehow wrote that I worried about the people in Africa because of their low IQ – and you’re not supposed to say that,” World-famous biologist James Watson told the Financial Times on Saturday that he regretted the controversial remarks he made in 2007. The 86-year-old Nobel laureate has become noticed as he has put his Nobel Prize medal on auction.

Dr. Watson told the Sunday Times in October 2007 that 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.” He was battered in a massive backlash.

“Because I was an ‘unperson’ I was fired from the boards of companies, so I have no income, apart from my academic income,” he said, adding that he hopes to “re-enter public life.”

He won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1962 for uncovering the double helix structure of DNA. He also headed the project to unlock the mystery of the human genome project. Yet he was blasted socially due to racist remarks against of African descents and found it difficult to make ends meet. As a result, he is the first Nobel Prize laureate to put his medal on auction while still living.

His medal will go on auction at Christie’s New York on Thursday. The successful bidding price is estimated to be 2.5 million to 3.5 million U.S. dollars. Watson said he would make donations to “institutions that have looked after me,” such as his alma maters of the University of Chicago and Cambridge University. "I really would love to own a painting by David Hockney,” Dr. Watson said.