James Watson was born in Chicago on April 28,1928. He went to Chicago public schools. He earned is BS degree degree from University of Chicago and a Phd from Indiana University,
Watson won the Nobel Prize in in medicine. in 1962. Through meticulous work and building on the research of others such as Rosalind Franklin (who died before she could be awarded a part of the Nobel Prize), Watson and Francis Crick detailed how a genetic code defined the structure of DNA. At the time he won the prize he was on the faculty of Harvard. In 1968 he bacame director of the Cold Spring Harbor Lab. He held that position for 35 years.
In 1990 he was suspended from the lab after crticism of some of the work he was doing. He was appointed the head of the Human Genome Project at the National Institutes of Health but resigned two year later after a dispute over who owned DNA, he believed it should not be patented. In 2007 Watson published a complete DNA sequence online. In 2014 he published a controversy paper on the role of anti-oxidants in disease.