Oral history of British science

Wilkins, Maurice (5 of 12). National Life Stories: Leaders of National Life

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  • Subjects

    Biophysics; Molecular Biology

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  • Interviewees

    Wilkins, Maurice, 1916-2004 (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Rose, Steven (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 5: Maurice Wilkins [MW] describes sitting Cambridge scholarship and walking into the observatory and met Redman and Birch. Birch invited him to Bristol at Wells Laboratory. Went to John's College, Cambridge to read Natural Sciences Part 1 in 1935. Speaks of various contacts to important people MW had in Cambridge. First impressions - MW did not get a scholarship. Describes lodgings and systems of tutors and describes some of the well known scientists who were there and how from "playing with science" went over to "real science". MW finds practical classes unnecessary. MW read physics, geology, mineralogy and mathematics in Part I. Describes studying the minerals in a private room in Birmingham City Museum. MW enjoyed crystal physics - linked to Bernal and Lyell. Was member of the National Science Club - undergraduate club - met Andrew Huxley there. Jack Allen - low temperature physicist MW met through summer holiday - first visit to continent.

  • Description

    Joint Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 with Francis Harry Compton Crick and James Dewey Watson for their work and discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material; DNA structure, described as double helix.

  • Related transcripts

    Professor Maurice Wilkins interviewed by Steven Rose: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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