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James Watson in 1957

Nobel Prize season has come to an awkward end. Once a day during last week, we heard announcements of the winners in the six fields, including a high-profile award to Al Gore. The recipients will forever be honored to include the word "laureate" in their biographies.

But a few days later, the most prominent Nobel scientist winning scientist deeply marred his reputation. James Watson, who in 1962 won the prize for his elucidation of DNA's structure, unequivocally stated in an interview with the United Kingdom's Sunday Times that black people are less intelligent than whites. Speaking on development programs in Africa, Watson lamented that "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours - whereas all the testing says not really… [P]eople who have to deal with black employees find [equality] is not true."

It may be tempting to dismiss this stunning utterance as the sloppy, irrelevant ramblings of a once-great scientist who is well past his prime. But Watson is a remarkably influential figure who has consistently reduced behavior to biology...