JB: I wrote a book called the Identity of Man. I never saw the cover of the English edition until the book reached me in print. And yet the artist had understood exactly what was in my mind, by putting on the cover a drawing of the brain and the Mona Lisa, one on top of the other

A Recollection by James Watson

THE PHOTOGRAPH of me and my wife Liz that appears in Ascent of Man was taken in the Bronowski home around 8:00 p.m. on 28 March 1968, just prior to our wedding in the First Congregational Church of La Jolla. Details for the hastily scheduled ceremony were arranged by Bruno's secretary, Sylvia (Bailey?). I had asked for her help several days before on how we might swiftly be married. My father was then seriously ill with cancer and with my mother already deceased, an elaborate wedding ceremony seemed inappropriate. Sylvia quickly found that a church, as opposed to a civil wedding, could be easier to arrange. She found the Reverend William Kershaw available for the task, and just before 9:00 p.m., Liz, I, Bruno and Rita made the five minute drive to the church. There, unexpectedly, I observed several volumes by Bertrand Russell in the Reverend Kershaw's office. So I did not feel uneasy in asking that the ceremony be as unreligious as possible.
James Watson
was, among many accomplishements, Oliver R. Grace Professor of Cancer Research at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, New York State. It was whilst he was at Cambridge University in 1952 that James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the structure of DNA. He received the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, with Crick and Maurice Wilkins.
Bruno served as my witness and by 9:30 p.m. we had moved on to an impromptu reception for La Jolla friends at La Valencia Hotel where Liz and I were to spend our wedding night.

Source: private communication

The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski

Copyright © 1998 by Stephen Moss. All rights reserved.