08:01 GMT11 May 2021
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    Nobel Winner Grateful to Russia For Appreciating Research, Returning Prize

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    James Watson, a renowned US biologist who discovered the structure of DNA, thanked Russia for appreciating his scientific work in an interview with Sputnik, Scientific American and Postnauka, as he reunited with his Nobel Prize medal in Moscow on Wednesday.

    Former Polish President Lech Walesa attends the state funeral of the former German President Richard von Weizsaecker at Berlin Cathedral, the protestant church of Berlin on February 11, 2015
    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Daria Chernyshova – In 1962, Watson received a gold medal – together with two other biologists – for uncovering the double helix structure of DNA.

    He auctioned off the precious prize in 2014 to raise money for his universities. The medal was purchased in December by Russian billionaire philanthropist Alisher Usmanov.

    On Wednesday, head of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Fortov returned it to the winner as a token of respect.

    "The Russian nation through Alisher Usmanov has sort of said thank you for your scientific research, writing books, and promoting science all over the world. So it is nice to feel well liked and respected," Watson said as he reunited with the prize in Moscow.

    Watson is in the Russian capital to deliver an open lecture on DNA and cancer. He told media he was glad to be back to Moscow.

    "I’ve always liked the Russian people and the Russian culture, it is wonderful to be back in Moscow," the scientist said. "I sold the medal because I wanted to say thank you to the institutions which gave me scholarships and let me have a very productive life, so I gave money to my universities."

    The 87-year-old underlined that he sold the medal to "do something while I was alive rather than dead."

    The medal fetched $4.1 million at a Christie's auction on December 4. It was in a bank for over 50 years.


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    science, cancer, medicine, chemistry, Nobel Prize, Alisher Usmanov, James Watson, Russia
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