NEW YORK — Expressing anger that the Nobel medal he had put up for auction was bought by a sympathetic billionaire who vowed to return it, James Watson said he will press on finding a creative way to get rid of it.
“This is the thrid time I’ve sold that medal,” said Watson, who claims he has been ostracized from the scientific community after having made remarks in 2007 linking race to intelligence. “The first time, I sold it a pawn shop, and the second time was to this sketchy drug dealer I encountered in the street, and the last time I used Craigslist and was contacted by an eccentric fund manager.”
“Each time, I think I’ve finally succeeded, but the buyer shows up at my door, gets all teary-eyed, and says something like, ‘Sir, I believe this belongs to you,’” he said. “I’m damn well fed up.”
Watson, along with collaborator Francis Crick, was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1962 for his work in discovering the double helix structure of DNA. He was conferred with the iconic 23-carat gold medal, which fetched a staggering $4.75 million when it was purchased by anonymous bidder at Christie’s. The buyer turned out to be Russian tycoon Alisher Usmanov, who said he was distressed by Watson’s story.
“I’m flattered by this Russian mafia boss’s gesture, but I don’t want the fucking medal anymore, in case it isn’t obvious,” Watson said. “When I get it back, I’m going to find the volcano in Mordor, and I’m going to hire a helicopter pilot to fly me over so I can throw the medal into the lava.”
“But with my luck,” he added, “some potato-brained volcanologist will risk his life searching for the medal, and then it’ll end up in my hands again.”