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Part X: 2004

MWS 2004 was a reprise of  MWS 2003, in terms of the celebration of the double  helix golden jubilee  (see MWS 2003).

The Distinguished  Service Awardee was Sir Aaron Klug, past President of the Royal Society and winner of the Chemistry Nobel Prize in 1984, for the development of crystallographic electron microscopy. Later,  he discovered zinc fingers.

The first Lifetime Achievement Awardee was Maclyn  McCarty, the only  surviving member of the trio of Avery, McCleod and MCCarty, who, in 1944, had reported that the transforming factor that causes non-pathogenic bacteria to become lethal  is DNA .

For this, next year, the Royal Society awarded Avery a medal.

But elsewhere, the idea  was ridiculed. The Nobel Foundation later apologized  for not awarding a Prize to the  trio. The idea that fueled the search  for the structure of DNA.

In celebration of the  jubilee, the BBC had created an  exhibition, to tour Canada and the USA, staying for a few weeks at a time at key centers.

Via  the British  Consul General in Miami,  we were able to  convince  the BBC that the University of  Miami  was such a key center,  and the  exhibition was installed in the Chemistry Department foyer  at Coral Gables.

The timing was  perfect. MWS 2004 time.

On  Wednesday evening of the MWS, in the Chemistry lecture  theater, Klug presided at the opening and electrified the audience by introducing McCarty.

Klug went on to describe  his personal knowledge of the  quartet who had  unveiled  DNA. Watson, CricK, Wilkins and Franklin.

For ten years, Klug had been the  Director of

the  MRC Laboratory of  Molecular Biology, where Watson  and Crick worked. He had been a postdoc with Franklin after she left left Wilkins.

The audience was spellbound. They had come to see an exhibition, but were seeing the actual players.

The BBC had made a good choice in the University of Miami.

Then, with a glass of wine in hand,  we strolled around the exhibits.

A night to remember.

McCarty died  exactly one year later , at the age of 93. He is shown here, receiving an award and being congratulated by Watson and Crick.

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