MWS 2003 celebrated the 50th anniversary of the double helix. James Watson had been the Lynen Lecturer at the 25th anniversary and Francis Crick the next year.
For 2003, the 50th anniversary, they were joint awardees. Crick was not well enough to attend, so Bill Whelan flew to California to present him with his award (seen here).
At the MWS itself, Watson gave the opening address and was afterwards mobbed by the students for his autograph. At a press conference with the Editor of Nature, Bill Whelan asked Watson who first used the term, double helix? Watson, who had used this as the title of his autobiography, said he did not know, and Crick gave the same answer by mail. (See his letter) Word search, anyone ?
The MWS tote bags displayed a copy of the 1953 letter to Nature, announcing the structure of DNA. Nature published two issues dealing with the anniversary
2003 was also the 50th anniversary of our Medical School and a double celebration was held. This is how Bill Whelan returned. The Dean had asked Bill to arrange and cochair a parallel symposium to reenact the School’s history. It was attended by Henry King Stanford, the UM President in the 60s and 70s, who had presided over every MWS from 1968-1980.