James Dewey Watson is one of the most notable scientists of the 20th century. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1962 for being one of the discoverers of the double helix DNA structure.

The 86-year old molecular biologist, hailed as one of the "fathers of DNA," however, is parting with his prestigious award. Watson will auction his Nobel Prize medallion at Christie's in New York on Thursday, Dec. 4, with a reserve price of $2.5 million.

The sale is expected to raise as much as 3.5 million and will make Watson the first Nobel laureate in history to sell the symbol of what is considered to be the highest honor given in the field of science.

As to why he has decided to sell his Nobel Prize medal, Watson says he needs the money as he had been shunned by the scientific community. The scientist has been known to have made several racist comments, but his fallout is largely because of comments he made in 2007. He said that black people are less intelligent than white people.

"[I am] inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa [because] all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours-whereas all the testing says not really," Watson said in a 2007 interview with the Sunday Times. He also added that although there is that natural desire for intelligence to be equal among races, "people who deal with black employees find this not true."

The scientist has apologized for his remark but his offensive comments have made him an outcast and this negatively affected his income.

"No one really wants to admit I exist," Watson said. "Because I was an 'unperson' I was fired from the boards of companies, so I have no income, apart from my academic income."

Watson said that he might donate some of the proceeds of the sale to University of Chicago, his alma mater. He might also buy some fine art, in particular a David Hockney painting, which he is reportedly eyeing on.

Despite Watson's past mistakes, auctioneer Francis Wahlgren said he expects the bidding to go much higher than the reserve price of $2.5 million and there appears to be reason to be optimistic.

In 2013, a letter written by Watson's fellow DNA structure discoverer Francis Crick to his son outlining the recent discovery of the double helix fetched over $6 million dollars. Watson's 18-carat gold Nobel Prize Award will probably be sold for more.

ⓒ 2021 TECHTIMES.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.