Smithsonian Institution

Search Results

Collections Search Center
1 documents - page 1 of 1

Watson and Crick Metal Base Pair from Model

Crick, Francis
Watson, James
Cavendish Laboratory
Physical Description:
brass (overall material)
overall: 2 cm x 24 cm x 8 cm; 13/16 in x 9 7/16 in x 3 1/8 in
Object Name:
model part
DNA model template
Date made:
This is one of four brass templates illustrating the base pairings of adenine and thymine or cytosine and guanine, from Francis Crick's and James Watson's original model of the "double helix" of DNA. Two templates show the correct base pair shapes; two others are earlier, misconceived models. In his book, The Double Helix, Watson recounts the moment he and Crick assembled the first correct model. A key clue for matching the correct forms of adenine and thymine or guanine and cytosine came from American crystallographer Jerry Donohue, who worked in the same laboratory as Watson and Crick. Data from Donohue and other crystallographers, including Rosalind Franklin, was key to Watson and Crick’s success. After the double helix research was published in Nature, generating tremendous worldwide notoriety, Donohue kept the model templates as souvenirs. Later, he returned to the United States, taking a position at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Shortly before his death, Donohue gave the templates to his friend and fellow crystallographer, Dr. Helen Berman, who presented them to the Smithsonian in 1988.
Currently not on view
Science & Mathematics
ID Number:
Accession number:
Catalog number:
See more items in:
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Data Source:
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Modify Your Search


Narrow By
  • Templates (shaping tools)
  • Science & Mathematics
  • Cavendish Laboratory
  • Crick, Francis
  • Watson, James
  • Cavendish Laboratory
  • Crick, Francis
  • Watson, James
  • 1950s
  • National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center