RIP Dr. Crick – Francis Crick, DNA co-discoverer, dies – Jul 29, 2004

Watson and Crick are two names that are paired and inseparable in my mind (like Fred and Ginger, or Frank and Sammy, but more technical, and with a lot more gravitas).

The discovery of DNA won him 1/3 of a Nobel prize (I guess they’re really expensive). I’ve never heard of the third co-winner.

Discovering the structure, then the function of DNA has opened many doors in science and medicine, and for that we owe a debt of gratitude.

It’s one of the ironies of life that he died of colon cancer, where the DNA loses focus and takes off on its own program, eventually killing its host.


  1. Maurice Wilkins is the English biophysisist who shared the prize, because without his work on uniformly oriented DNA fibers (resulting in diffraction samples far better than previous ones), Watson and Crick would not have been able to complete the molecular modeling. Unfortunately, some of the other critical work they used, the incredibly important contributions of X-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, have never been highly publicized– simply, because she died prior to the presentation of the Nobel Prize, and they are never given posthumously. So, here’s my three cheers for Rosalind!!!

  2. I heard Watson speak at the Pri-Med conference in Orange County back in May. He referred to Crick’s cancer at that time. I was sorry to hear it.