Scanning space and DNA

For the record, "And DNA" is a palindrome.

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Today in Science History: The Rolling Deenahs

January 7th, 1952

Shortly after discovering DNA, scientists Francis Crick and James Watson faced a dilemma: what to call their discovery. Unfortunately, tensions between the two were already high, due to Crick’s insistence on saying, “Elementary, my dear Watson,” and laughing loudly. Watson contributed to the rift by replying, “Elementary, my dear Crick,” and pretending it was just as clever.

The disagreement built until it bubbled into conflict over the pronunciation of DNA. Crick voted “D — N — A.” Watson, driven by a desire to prove he was neither elementary nor dear, said it should be pronounced as a word: Deenah, to be precise.

The press responded by pronouncing the letters as letters, so Watson launched a propaganda campaign that centered around “The Rolling Deenahs,” a genetics-themed band led by “Deenah,” a woman dressed in a cumbersome DNA costume wrapped around her body, which severely constricted her Mo-town influenced DNA related tunes (songs like “Sweet Adenine,” “Pair My Base,” and “Respect,” which was just a cover of the Aretha Franklin song. It had no relationship to DNA, but was great at weddings).

Unfortunately, the “Deenah” pronunciation was doomed when Deenah of The Rolling Deenahs, performing for a Friar’s Club just outside of Detroit, became over-exuberant during a high note. Her DNA costume constricted her breathing and she was considered the first person killed by Double Helix. The rest is dull initialism history, though The Rolling Deenah’s most famous song, “Cytosine Blues,” still plays in college laboratories to this day.

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