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Science & Medicine 67

Explorations in the world of science.


Maurice Wilkins

July 20th, 2015

Episode 487 of 607 episodes

What does it take to be remembered well? The discovery of the structure of DNA is often attributed to James Watson and Francis Crick. But a third man shared the stage with them for the 1962 Nobel Prize for medicine - Maurice Wilkins. He was a brilliant physicist who after work on the Manhattan Project was determined to move from "the science of death to the science of life". He made his mark in the fast progressing world of x-ray crystallography and in the late 1940's was the first to propose that biological material that passed on genetic information from one generation to the next might have an order and structure that scientists could elucidate and control. He was to play an integral role one of the most important discoveries of the 20th century. But why did he fail to capture the public imagination? Kevin Fong examines Maurice Wilkins achievements offering a new slant on the familiar story of the race to unravel DNA Producer: Adrian Washbourne Image credit: Professor Maurice Wilkins, courtesy of Keystone/Hulton Archve

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