Minister Brian Hayes was at the National Botanic Gardens for the presentation to the Irish people of a sculpture – ?What is Life? – which celebrates the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix by James D. Watson and Francis Crick in 1953.

The Sculpture was commissioned by Professors John Atkins of University College Cork and David McConnell of Trinity College Dublin as a public celebration of Science in Ireland and to specifically celebrate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of The Double Helix by Watson and his colleague Francis Crick in April 1953.

The Sculptor, Charles Jencks, designs landscapes and sculpture and writes on cosmogenic art. He has devised a state of the art representation, for the first time in sculpture anywhere the many extraordinary new revelations made in the last 30 years about the novel roles of RNA in living organisms.

Mary O’Donovan, Director of the West Cork Education Centre, announced the four winners of a school essay competition on the roles of RNA and DNA. The Post-primary school winners were Niamh Maher of St. Angela’s secondary school, Waterford, and Éabha Wall of Coléiste na Toirbhirte, Bandon. The Primary school winner was Milly Smith of Our Lady of Mercy National School, Bantry, while Cormac Farrelly of Rowandale Integrated School Armagh received an Honourable mention.

Minister Brian Hayes accepted the sculpture on behalf of the Irish people, saying “I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks, on behalf of the people of Ireland, for the gift of such an inspirational icon.” The sculpture was paid for by donations from John Atkins, David and Janet McConnell, Tara Atkins, David Went, The Irish Museums Trust, Feargal Quinn and Jim Watson

Minister Brian Hayes and Jim Watson, Nobel laureateThe Sculpture ?What is Life? has its own dedicated website –