Extraordinary discoveries inspire extraordinary claims. Thus, James Watson reported that immediately after he and Francis Crick uncovered the structure of DNA, Crick "winged into the Eagle (pub) to tell everyone within hearing that we had discovered the secret of life." Their structure--an elegant double helix--almost merited such enthusiasm. Its proportions permitted information storage in a language in which four chemicals, called bases, played the same role as 26 letters do in the English language.