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James Watson and Francis Crick

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Key Players:
James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and Rosalind Franklin.
James Watson's Early Life:
Born in Chicago, Illinois on April 6, 1928. He starred on a radio show when he was 12. He finished high school in two years.
James Watson's degree:
He had a degree in zoology.
James Watson's First glimpse of D.N.A.:
He met a scientist named Maurice Wilkins and saw pictures of D.N.A. This glimpse started Watson's quest to find the structure of D.N.A.
Francis Crick Early Life:
Born on June 8, 1916, in Northampton, England.
Francis Crick during World War 2:
He designed mines for the British Admiralty.
Francis Crick After the War:
He left the Admiralty and started to study biology and organic chemistry.
James Watson and Francis Crick meet:
After seeing those pictures of D.N.A., Watson started working at the Cavendish Laboratory in England. At that time, Francis Crick was already working there.
More into their Meeting:
Watson was assigned to share a office with Crick, because Watson didn't know as much on the topic, so Crick could teach him. They quickly became good friends.
Before James joined the Cavendish Laboratory & his first few days:
By 1951, Crick had already been interpreting the x-ray patterns of protein. Watson talked with Crick about using the same technique on D.N.A. which got Crick very excited.
Linus Pauling (the Nobel Prize winning chemist) :
While they(James and Crick) were meeting for the first time, Linus had already published his model of proteins using x-ray crystallography. He found that many proteins spiral like a spring coil-an alpha helix. His next goal was to try and solve the structure of D.N.A. Watson and Crick decided that they would imitate Linus' work to crack the structure of D.N.A. before he did.
King's College in London:
Two other scientists from here were also searching for the structure of D.N.A. One was Maurice Wilkins. The other scientist was Rosalind Franklin.
How Watson first met Rosalind Franklin:
He decided to attend a lecture given by Franklin to learn more about her research.
Returning to Cambridge from King's College:
Watson returned with a vague memory of Franklin's presentation. Watson and Crick created a model of DNA using this information, but it failed miserably. Watson and Crick were told by their supervisor to give up, but they refused.
Franklin and Wilkins' relationship:
Even though they conducted similar research, Wilkins and Franklin did not get along. Franklin mostly did her research alone. She suspected that DNA had a helical shape, but wanted more evidence to support her theory.
Wilkins helping Watson and Crick:
Wilkins was growing impatient with Franklin. Without Franklin's permission, he decided to show Watson her data. This information was the key that Watson and Crick needed to the D.N.A. puzzle.
Using Franklin's data:
They realized(from using Franklin's data) that DNA was made of two chains of nucleotides forming a double helix. They found that one chain went up, while the other went down. They had also recently learned about matching base pairs (adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine) and added this concept to their model. The matching base pairs interlocked in the middle of the double helix, which kept the distance between the chains constant.
More into using Franklin's data:
Watson and Crick also showed that each chain of the
DNA molecule was a template for the other. When the
DNA strands separate during cell division, new
strands are built off of the existing strands.
On February 28, 1953 in the Eagle Pub in Cambridge, England:
At this day and place, Francis Crick announced, ""We found the secret of life."
Getting a Noble Prize:
Watson and Crick's DNA model fit perfectly with the
data and was quickly accepted. In 1962, Watson,
Crick, and Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize for
physiology and medicine.
Why Franklin was not also awarded the prize:
She had given key information which let them discover the structure of D.N.A. Unfortunately, she
had already died of cancer in 1958 at the age of 37, and the rule says that the Nobel Prize can only be given to living recipients and can only be shared among three winners.
Working as a professor for 20-years:
In 1956, Watson started his 20-year position as professor of biology at Harvard University. In 1968, Watson also served as director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory of Quantitative Biology in Long Island, New York. The laboratory became a key research center in molecular biology.
Publishing a Book(Watson):
In 1968, Watson published his book The Double
Helix, which described his firsthand account of the
DNA discovery. From 1988 to 1992, Watson headed
the National Center for Human Genome Research at
the National Institutes of Health. Today, Watson
continues to give public speeches and is chancellor of
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.
Crick's life after being awarded the Noble Peace Prize:
Crick remained at Cambridge for 20 years and
continued to study DNA. He made major contributions
in solving how genetic information is coded. In 1962,
Crick became director of Cambridge University's
Molecular Biology Laboratory. He also held several
visiting professor positions in the United States during
this time. He later joined the Salk Institute for Biology
Studies in La Jolla, California.
Publishing a Book(Crick):
In 1966, Crick wrote Of Molecules and Men, which
described the impact of recent biochemistry
discoveries. He also developed an interest in
neurobiology and did research on vision and the
function of dreams.
Key Players current lives Part 1:
James Watson(Living):
Age: 87
Current Profession: Retired
Spouse(s): Elizabeth Watson
Notable Awards: Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1960), Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (1962), John J. Carty Award (1971), ForMemRS (1981), Copley Medal (1993), Lomonosov Gold Medal (1994)
Key Players current lives Part 2:
Francis Crick(Dead):
Age at Death: 88
Time of Death: 28 July 2004
Place of Death: San Diego, California, United States
Cause of Death: Colon Cancer
Spouse(s):Ruth Doreen Crick and Odile Crick
Notable Awards: Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1960), Gairdner Foundation International Award (1962), Nobel Prize (1962), Royal Medal (1972),
Copley Medal (1975), Albert Medal (1987)
Key Players current lives Part 3:
Maurice Wilkins(Dead):
Age at Death: 87
Time of Death: 5 October 2004
Place of Death: Blackheath, London, United Kingdom
Cause of Death: unknown(see note card labeled Cause of Wilkins Death)
Spouse(s): Ruth Wilkins and Patricia Ann Chidgey
Notable Awards: Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research (1960), Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1962)
Key Players current lives Part 4:
Rosalind Franklin(Dead):
Age at Death: 37
Time of Death: 16 April 1958
Place of Death: Chelsea, London, England
Cause of Death: Ovarian Cancer
Spouse(s): None
Notable Awards: None
Cause of Wilkins Death:
He died in a hospital in London. The cause of death was never released.