Informator uniwersytecki

numer 004
luty 2021


When the famous James Watson visited UMLUB in 2008, most of the academic community was elated and utterly gobsmacked – How on earth? In a sense this was something like Copernicus visiting. All gathered at the UMLUB Main Hall to listen to the lecture of one of the most famous scientists alive.

James Watson

As we all recognise it, James Watson was one of the researchers (along with Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin, and Maurice Wilkins) who discovered the DNA double helix in 1953. Nine years later, the team was awarded the Nobel Prize for this ground-breaking achievement which has revolutionised biological sciences.

Genes… genes… genes. In, literally, everything - What does the fish say when it swims against a brick wall – damn! What does James Watson say when you want to explain body characteristics, intelligence, eye-colour, skills, and one’s psyche - genes!

But…there’s more about James Watson that makes him really special. From time to time, he likes to shake up the world by firing up a super-controversial statement.

In 2003 documentary interview called ‘DNA’, Watson delivered a comment on gene editing for beauty: “People say it would be terrible if we made all girls pretty. I think it would be great.”  And he grinned in his own special ‘goblin – like way.’

So, beauty… Do you recall the famous Marquardt map of a pretty face which surfaced in the media in 2000s? Of course, the proverbial ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ might be true, however, the top-tier actors, models and media stars represent a pattern which follows the specific proportions and distances of a perfect face related to the nose, eyes, eyebrows, cheekbones, and  lips. Taken from Plato’s ”Forms”- the ‘archetype’ describes the face in two categories. The first one is symmetry which can be characterised as the mirror image of parts or components in respect to an axis. Obviously – a beautiful face is symmetrical. The second golden feature is harmony which can be defined as a recurring theme in the shape or form of the face.
zielone oczy kobiety

I could, potentially, wrap it up here, however, I would like to recall a situation which occurred while I was grocery shopping the other day. In a fresh produce section, I noticed a not even one year old baby who was just waking up from a nap while her parents were bending down over an old-fashioned pram. They were downward normal people, dressed casually in dowdy leather jackets with tired faces signifying unslept nights. The baby, spotted them and reacted with the most wonderful smile, the one of a lost wanderer facing God in paradise. It saw the beauty – the beauty of care and warmth – the paradigms less mentioned but so much intrinsically desired.

Piotr Flieger

zdjęcie 1 – James Dewey Watson, źródło

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