Francis Crick

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Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when you only have one.
Alain Chartier
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Francis Harry Compton Crick (8 June 191628 July 2004) was a British physicist, molecular biologist and neuroscientist, most noted for being one of the co-discoverers of the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953.


The Prizewinners (11 December 1962, BBC)

  • If for example I had some idea, which as it turned out would be quite wrong, was going off of the tangent, Watson would tell me in no uncertain terms this was nonsense, and vice-versa. If he would have some idea I didn't like, and I would say so, this would shake his thinking about, and draw him back again. And in fact it is one of the requirements for collaborations of this sort, is you must be perfectly candid, one might almost say rude, to the person you're working with. It's useless working with somebody who is either much too junior than yourself or much too senior because then politeness creeps in. And this is the end of all real collaboration in science (giggles).

Life Story (1987, BBC)

  • Big questions get big answers.

What Mad Pursuit (1988)

  • Rather than believe that Watson and Crick made the DNA structure, I would rather stress that the structure made Watson and Crick.
  • Both of us had decided, quite independently of each other, that the central problem in molecular biology was the chemical structure of the gene.
  • Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved. It might be thought, therefore, that evolutionary arguments would play a large part in guiding biological research, but this is far from the case. It is difficult enough to study what is happening now. To figure out exactly what happened in evolution is even more difficult. Thus evolutionary achievements can be used as hints to suggest possible lines of research, but it is highly dangerous to trust them too much. It is all too easy to make mistaken inferences unless the process involved is already very well understood.


  • One of the most frightening things in the Western world, and in this country in particular, is the number of people who believe in things that are scientifically false. If someone tells me that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, in my opinion he should see a psychiatrist.
  • We've discovered the secret of life.

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