Essays on Science and SocietyPERCEPTIONS IN SCIENCE

The Making of an Icon

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Science  11 Apr 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5617, pp. 255-257
DOI: 10.1126/science.1081133a

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This Essay unravels the history of the iconic image of James Watson, Francis Crick, and the double helix. Taken by freelance photographer Antony Barrington Brown in May 1953 to accompany a report on the double-helix structure in Time magazine, it was returned unused and first appeared in print only 15 years later in Watson's book, The Double Helix. It has since been inextricably linked to the history of the discovery and the way it is portrayed.