EXHIBIT: After the Double Helix

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Science  25 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5713, pp. 1177
DOI: 10.1126/science.307.5713.1177e

“I have never seen Francis Crick in a modest mood,” James Watson declared in his controversial book The Double Helix. Regardless of whether the characterization was accurate, Crick (1916–2004) had plenty to be immodest about. As you can see at this new exhibit on his life from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, Crick's contributions went far beyond co-discovering the structure of DNA.

After helping set the research agenda for molecular biology's early years, Crick at age 60 launched a new career as a neuroscientist, theorizing about questions such as the origin of consciousness and the function of rapid eye movement sleep. Along with a biography that follows his professional zigzags, the site holds letters, papers, photos, and other memorabilia from a collection cached at the U.K.'s Wellcome Library. You can peruse an early sketch of the double helix, for example, or read a letter from chemist Linus Pauling chastising Crick for including too few hydrogen bonds in a paper on DNA. Also included is a 1979 composite photo showing Crick's animated lecture style.


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