Decoding the Genetic Code: Unraveling the Language of Scientific Paradigms
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractScientific revolutions have not only significantly broadened our knowledge underlying physical laws and natural patterns, but also shifted the cultural paradigm through which science is understood and practiced. These paradigm shifts, as Thomas Kuhn denoted them, are facilitated through changes in language, because language is the only method of articulating - and thereby establishing - truth, according to Friedrich Nietzsche and Michel Foucalt. Steven Shapin analyzed the progression of these linguistic changes in global scientific revolutions and Bruno Latour categorized them in the local laboratory setting. One of the most recent revolutions in science, the discovery of the double helix by James Watson and Francis Crick, altered the understanding and application of genetics. James Watson’s personal account of this discovery, the Double Helix, makes the point to change the general perception of science as intellectual labor to innovative play. However, he does not portray his discovery in the scientific elegance that it deserves as the culmination of nearly a century of research and the marriage of quantum physics and biology. This thesis explores the paradigm shifts that developed with each scientific revolution, how they led to the double helix, and finally, the paradigm shift of the "Structure-Function Relationship" that accompanied this discovery.
Degree ProgramHonors College