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On Wednesday morning, King Saud University had the honor of welcoming a prodigiously influential molecular biologist to Saudi Arabia. James Watson, one of the two co-discoverers of the structure of DNA and a 1962 Nobel Prize winner for Physiology or Medicine, delivered a lecture which explored the historical development of DNA research. KSU Professor Awad Al-Johani, Dean of the Science Faculty, organized this important lecture, with the cooperation of Rahman Jeraisy, systems chair for the Faculty of Science’s Department of Zoology.Professor Watson provided KSU researchers and other conference attendees with valuable encouragement regarding the necessary excellence of Saudi research work, telling KSU researchers that their goals in research should be ambitious, and that they should strive to make a difference not only on their campus, but worldwide. Furthermore, he challenged the lecture’s guests to question "why" certain concepts in science and other academic fields are taken for granted.
The Modern Library listed Dr. Watson’s book, The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA as one of the 20th century's best works of non-fiction. The discovery illustrated the simplicity of DNA’s specific functions. With such notoriety, it is no surprise that attendance at the lecture was considerable, and a large number of faculty, researchers and students were unable to find room in the conference hall. Researchers and students, familiar with his many accomplishments, books and research, took the opportunity to use their mobile phones for photo ops and making video clips with the internationally renowned scientist.
Dr. Watson will be delivering another lecture on Monday, January 18th at the main lecture hall at King Saud University’s Faculty of Medicine building, entitled “Curing Cancer Now, Not Tomorrow”. The lecture will highlight current research in the field of molecular biology and treatments for reducing the chances of cancer.