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published by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Available Languages: English, Spanish
This 16-minute video blends rare archival footage with interviews of leading scientists to explore how the double-helix structure of DNA was discovered. Published by Howard Hughes Medical Institute Biointeractives, the video chronicles the race in the 1950's to unravel the mystery of DNA structure -- a race fraught with intrigue, competition, and innovation. The video maintains journalistic standards of impartiality as it explores the contributions of Rosalind Franklin, Watson and Crick, Linus Pauling, and Erwin Chargaff.

See Related Items for a link to a student guide that accompanies this video.
Editor's Note: This video can serve as a great springboard for a discussion of ethics in scientific research. To what extent should publicly-funded research be openly and non-competitively shared among scientists?
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Technology
= Distance Education
Oscillations & Waves
- Wave Motion
= Interference and Diffraction
Other Sciences
- Chemistry
- Life Sciences
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
General Public
Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 license. Each interactive resource contains information regarding specific copyright, which may belong to individuals.
Rights Holder:
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Photo 51, helical structure, molecular structure, x-ray crystallography
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created November 12, 2021 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
November 12, 2021 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 31, 2020

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Electromagnetic Radiation (PS4.B)
  • Atoms of each element emit and absorb characteristic frequencies of light. These characteristics allow identification of the presence of an element, even in microscopic quantities. (9-12)
Information Technologies and Instrumentation (PS4.C)
  • Multiple technologies based on the understanding of waves and their interactions with matter are part of everyday experiences in the modern world (e.g., medical imaging, communications, scanners) and in scientific research. They are essential tools for producing, transmitting, and capturing signals and for storing and interpreting the information contained in them. (9-12)
Structure and Function (LS1.A)
  • All cells contain genetic information in the form of DNA molecules. Genes are regions in the DNA that contain the instructions that code for the formation of proteins, which carry out most of the work of cells. (9-12)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Patterns (K-12)
  • Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena. (9-12)
  • Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns. (9-12)
Structure and Function (K-12)
  • The functions and properties of natural and designed objects and systems can be inferred from their overall structure, the way their components are shaped and used, and the molecular substructures of its various materials. (9-12)
Science is a Human Endeavor (3-12)
  • Science is a result of human endeavors, imagination, and creativity. (9-12)

NGSS Nature of Science Standards (K-12)

ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
(Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, 2011), WWW Document, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vm3od_UmFg).
HHMI Video: The DNA Double Helix Discovery, (Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, 2011), <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vm3od_UmFg>.
APA Format
HHMI Video: The DNA Double Helix Discovery. (2020, October 31). Retrieved December 6, 2021, from Howard Hughes Medical Institute: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vm3od_UmFg
Chicago Format
Howard Hughes Medical Institute. HHMI Video: The DNA Double Helix Discovery. Chevy Chase: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, October 31, 2020. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vm3od_UmFg (accessed 6 December 2021).
MLA Format
HHMI Video: The DNA Double Helix Discovery. Chevy Chase: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2011. 31 Oct. 2020. 6 Dec. 2021 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vm3od_UmFg>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {HHMI Video: The DNA Double Helix Discovery}, Publisher = {Howard Hughes Medical Institute}, Volume = {2021}, Number = {6 December 2021}, Month = {October 31, 2020}, Year = {2011} }
Refer Export Format

%T HHMI Video: The DNA Double Helix Discovery %D October 31, 2020 %I Howard Hughes Medical Institute %C Chevy Chase %U https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vm3od_UmFg %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D October 31, 2020 %T HHMI Video: The DNA Double Helix Discovery %I Howard Hughes Medical Institute %V 2021 %N 6 December 2021 %8 October 31, 2020 %9 text/html %U https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vm3od_UmFg

Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

HHMI Video: The DNA Double Helix Discovery:

Contains Film Guide: The DNA Double Helix Discovery

A link to the Instructor Guide, Student Guide, and Background Information that support this video.

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