Watson makes it official

James Watson is immediately stepping down as chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. The move follows days of linkurl:public criticism;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53712/ of his remarks to a UK newspaper that people of African descent are less intelligent. "Closer now to 80 than 79, the passing on of my remaining vestiges of leadership is more than overdue," he said in a statement released this morning. "The linkurl:circumstances;http://www.the-scientis

By | October 25, 2007

James Watson is immediately stepping down as chancellor of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. The move follows days of linkurl:public criticism;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53712/ of his remarks to a UK newspaper that people of African descent are less intelligent. "Closer now to 80 than 79, the passing on of my remaining vestiges of leadership is more than overdue," he said in a statement released this morning. "The linkurl:circumstances;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53715/ in which this transfer is occurring, however, are not those which I could ever have anticipated or desired." Watson also resigned from his position on the CSHL Board, where he served for 43 years. In his statement, Watson thanked his mother and father for raising him to believe in "the need for those on top to help care for the less fortunate," and concludes his remarks with: "I have been much blessed. " Last week CSHL linkurl:suspended Watson;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53714/ following his inflammatory remarks. This morning, Eduardo Mestre, Chairman of the Board of CSHL, said in a linkurl:statement;http://www.cshl.edu/public/releases/07_watson_retires.html that Watson has left behind a great legacy by helping describe the structure of DNA, a finding that will influence biomedical research for "decades." He added: "The Board respects his decision to retire at this point in his career." CSHL President Bruce Stillman also thanked Watson for his legacy. "We all owe Jim and his wife Liz a great deal of gratitude for devoting much of his professional career and all of their married life to building up Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory into a leading research center," he said in a statement. Watson is retiring, but not moving -- CSHL has permitted him to keep his residence at Bungtown Road.

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