|(1916 - )
British molecular biologist who was instrumental in the 1953 discovery of the structure of DNA and in 1957 of how DNA makes proteins, a finding called the "central dogma" of molecular biology. His accomplishments led to the rise of the new field of molecular biology, new studies in genetics, and earned him the 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology.
Crick, born in Northampton, England, developed an interest in mathematics and science during his grade school years at the Mill Hill School in London. He went on to complete his undergraduate and postgraduate work in physics at the University College in London. After World War II, while performing protein research at Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory, Crick enrolled in Gonville and Gains College to obtain a doctoral degree.
With the breakout of World War II in Europe, Crick joined the Admiralty Research Laboratory and developed powerful mines for the British navy. After the war, he switched his studies to biology. Crick began performing cell research at the Strangeways Research Laboratory in 1947. In 1949, he moved to the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge and began a study of proteins.
One of Crick's greatest accomplishments came in 1953 when he, teamed with American James Watson, determined the structure of DNA. Crick and Watson's discovery was built upon preliminary research by physicist Maurice Wilkins, who used X-ray diffraction to gain an understanding of DNA's double helix form. Watson and Crick's explanation of the structure of DNA, which was physically unproven by experiment at the time of their 1953 publication, was called the Watson-Crick Hypothesis. Experimental proof confirming the hypothesis was later provided by Arthur Kornberg. The discovery of the structure of DNA immediately gave rise to the field of molecular biology and stimulated great scientific and medical research in genetics. Crick, Watson, and Wilkins all shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology for their accomplishments.
In 1957, Crick, now working with George Ganov, discovered how DNA directs protein development in a cell, a finding that is known as the "central dogma" of molecular biology. Crick and Ganov suggested that information passed from DNA to RNA to the proteins.
In 1976, Crick took a position at the Salk Institute in California, where he continues his work today. He has been researching consciousness and the origins of life.
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