James D. Watson Joins Panel Discussion Of Photograph 51 At Julia Miles Theatre


James D. Watson, Nobel Prize winner for the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA, the greatest scientific breakthrough of the 20th century, will join in a panel discussion on the controversial race for that discovery surrounding Rosalind Franklin, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins and himself as depicted in Anna Ziegler's new play, Photograph 51, currently on stage at The Ensemble Studio Theatre as part The Ensemble Studio Theatre/ Alfred P. Sloan Project.

Also on the panel, to be held Tuesday, November 2, at 7:00pm at the Julia Miles Theatre, 424 West 55th Street, are nucleic acid crystallographer HeLen Berman, author Lynne Osman Elkin, NPR Science Friday host Ira Flatow, New York Times science reporter Nicholas Wade and playwright Anna Ziegler. Columbia Biology Chair and EST/Sloan Foundation science advisor Stuart Firestein will moderate the discussion that will cover Rosalind Franklin's role in the discovery of DNA's structure, ethics, competition, credit, gender bias, and much more

Photograph 51 explores the 1950s race to discover the "secret of life": the structure of DNA. The true story, particularly Rosalind Franklin's role in what became the greatest scientific breakthrough of the last century, remains disputed by scientists and historians alike.

The panel discussion is free, but seating is first come, first served and reservations are essential. To reserve, e-mail boxoffice@ensemblestudiotheatre.org. The Ensemble Studio Theatre's phone is 212-247-4982.

The event will be recorded and podcasted by Scientific American.


Photograph 51, the compelling drama about the cutthroat race to discover DNA's double helix, written by Anna Ziegler and directed by Linsay Firman, is currently having its New York premiere as part of the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project now through November 21, at The Ensemble Studio Theatre, 549 West 52nd Street.

Cast as Rosalind Franklin is Kristen Bush. Also cast are Kevin Collins as Nobel Prize-winner Maurice Wilkins, David Gelles as Ray Gosling, Haskell King as Nobel Prize-winner James Watson, Benjamin Pelteson as Don Caspar, and Jeremy Webb as Nobel Prize-winner Francis Crick.

Photograph 51 is part of the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project. They play was commissioned and produced by Active Cultures. It was then produced by The Fountain Theatre in L.A. In 2008, the play won the Stage International Script Competition for Best New Play about Science and Technology.

In 1953 scientists are on the brink of discovering what is called the "secret of life." Ahead of them all is a brilliant and passionate scientist, Rosalind Franklin (1920 - 1958), whose greatest strength - her uncompromising independence - leads to her undoing. When her competitors find out about her "photograph 51" - the first recorded image of the double helix - her work is suddenly not her own. In 1962, the Nobel Prize for one of the greatest scientific breakthroughs of the 20th century is awarded to James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins.

Rosalind Franklin, Nobel archives revealed a half century later, was never even nominated for the Nobel Prize. More remarkably, she died unaware of how her work led directly to the discovery credited to the three men.


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