James Watson, (Dewey) (1928- ). US biochemist who helped to determine the structure of DNA. A child prodigy, Watson graduated from the University of Chicago at the age of 19. After postgraduate work on viruses, he moved to Cambridge in 1951 and began to work on the structure of DNA (the hereditary material of cells) with Francis Crick. In 1953 they constructed a three-dimensional model of the DNA molecule, which had the form of a spiral ladder (or double helix). This structure fitted in with the physical data for DNA provided by Maurice Wilkins. Watson, Crick, and Wilkins received a Nobel Prize for their work in 1962. Watson’s book The Double Helix (1968) is a lively and controversial account of their research.