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Sunday, 3 August 2014

Francis Crick

On February 28, 1953 two young scientists, British Francis Crick (1916-2004) and American James Watson (b 1928) announced to the press in the Eagle pub near Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, England that they had discovered "the secret of life." Their discovery was the structure for DNA, the chemical that carries the instruction that determines heredity.

During World War II, Crick worked for the Admiralty Research laboratory and was instrumental in designing a new mine that couldn’t be detected by the Germans.

Francis Crick married artist Odile Speed on August 11, 1949. Odile Crick worked as a teacher at what is now Anglia Ruskin University before the births of their daughters Gabrielle and Jacqueline.

Francis Crick and James Watson asked Odile Crick to draw an illustration of the double helix for their paper on DNA for Nature in 1953. The sketch was reproduced widely in textbooks and scientific articles and has become the symbol for molecular biology.

Crick, who at the age of 12 made the decision no longer to believe in God had some unusual views. He believed that life on Earth arrived in an unmanned rocket carrying microbial spores sent by an advanced civilization billions of years ago.

Francis Crick in his office. By Francis_Crick.png: Photo: Marc Liebermanderivative 

Watson is also a fervent atheist. Ironically in the Cavendish Laboratory where the zealously atheistic scientists worked they daily pass an inscription of Psalm 111: 2 ‘Great are the works of the Lord,’ carved across the laboratory’s front door.

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