STEM GLAM GALLERY: FRANCIS CRICK
Francis Crick was born on June 8, 1916, in Northampton, England. He was curious to learn science and do “kitchen” experiments as a kid. At age 21, Crick earned a B.S. degree in physics in 1937 from University College, London. After that, he conducted graduate research on water viscosity. Unfortunately, World War II (1939- 1942) disrupted his research, and instead he worked in the military as a designer of magnetic and acoustic mines for the war. The war ended, Crick quit the military and continued his scientific studies.
Crick was uncertain about his passion during his early graduate years. After the war, he researched the magnetism effects on chick fibroblastic cell. In 1947, he moved to Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, where he partnered with Max Perutz and worked on his project about X-ray diffractions of proteins.
It was in 1951 that Crick met James Watson in Cambridge. Despite the twelve-year age difference (Crick being older), the two scientists “hit it off immediately.” Inspired by Erwin Schrödinger’s intriguing question–about how science can account for all the processes in living organisms–the duo worked energetically on determining the structure of DNA molecule, relying on the X-ray crystallographic data done by Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin. In 1953, they announced and published a paper on DNA helical structure in scientific journal Nature. Along with Maurice Wilkins, Crick and Watson won the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their work in revealing the DNA structure.
Crick died at age 88 in 2004 in 1951, while he was researching on the neurobiology of human consciousness. “He was editing a manuscript on his deathbed, a scientist until the bitter end.”
Crick made a great contribution to molecular science. He is always remembered when it comes to “DNA.”