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Francis Crick Quotes

Francis Crick
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: Francis Harry Compton Crick
  • Born: 8th June 1916, Weston Favell, Northamptonshire, England
  • Died: 28th July 2004, San Diego, California, U.S.
  • Alma mater: University College London (BSc), University of Cambridge (PhD)
  • Occupation: Physicist and neuroscientist
  • Best known for: Co-discovering the double-helix structure of the DNA strand
  • Awards: He shared the Nobel prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1962

"The dangerous man is the one who has only one idea, because then he'll fight and die for it"

Francis Crick

"Only time and money stand between us and knowing the composition of every gene in the human genome"

Francis Crick

"There is no form of prose more difficult to understand and more tedious to read than the average scientific paper"

Francis Crick

"Chance is the only source of true novelty"

Francis Crick

"Exact knowledge is the enemy of vitalism"

Francis Crick

"It is notoriously difficult to define the word living"

Francis Crick

"If you want to understand function, study structure"

Francis Crick

"Avoid the temptation to work so hard that there is no time left for serious thinking"

Francis Crick

"If revealed religions have revealed anything it is that they are usually wrong"

Francis Crick

"You’re nothing but a pack of neurons"

Francis Crick

"Evolution is cleverer than you are"

Francis Crick

"A man who is right every time is not likely to do very much"

Francis Crick

"We've discovered the secret of life"

Francis Crick
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Francis Crick Biography

In an award winning scientific career spanning seven decades Francis Crick contributed to the advancement of scientific research with his collaborative research earning him a share of the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1962 for the identification of the structure of DNA.

As with many first discoveries his success was based on the work of others as Crick together with James Watson drew on the work of Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin which led to their ground breaking identification in 1953. Crick started his scientific career at the University College London where he obtained his Bsc in 1937.

The outbreak of WWII saw him working for the Admiralty on developing naval mines and he helped design an effective mine to combat German minesweepers. After the war he changed direction to learn biology at Cambridge and it was here that he met James Watson and in 1951 their research into DNA began in earnest culminating in them publishing a paper in the April 1953 edition of the scientific journal Nature depicting their identification of the DNA double-helical structure.

Crick continued to explore the structure of DNA molecules before expanding his interests into neuroscience and consciousness. He authored several books including Of Molecules and Men (1966) and Life Itself (1981). He died in 2004 and his heirs auctioned off his Nobel Prize medal in 2013 for in excess of $2 million.

In another sale a letter Crick wrote to his son describing his DNA discovery sold for a mouth watering $6 million after both items had been locked away in storage for more than 50 years.

In 2016 the Francis Crick Institute opened in London making it is the largest biomedical research centre in Europe.

From the finest scientific minds come the greatest lines so here is my compilation of 13 of the best Francis Crick quotes.

Quotes About Francis Crick

The molecular biologist James D. Watson made this observation: "Conversations with Crick frequently upset Sir Lawrence Bragg, and the sound of his voice was often sufficient to make Bragg move to a safer room. Only infrequently did would he come to tea in the Cavendish, since it meant enduring Crick's booming over the tea room"

The neurologist Oliver Sacks was impressed to say: "I told him stories about many of my patients, and that each one set off bursts of hypotheses, theories, suggestions for investigation in his mind. Writing to Crick a few days later, I said that the experience was "a little like sitting next to an intellectual nuclear reactor"…. I never had a feeling of such incandescence"

The neuroscientist Christof Koch summed up the man in a short sentence: "He was editing a manuscript on his death bed, a scientist until the bitter end"

Francis Crick image quote