Oral history of British science

Wilkins, Maurice (7 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 7: Maurice Wilkins [MW] objects to the assumption at the time that Communists were the appeasers of Fascism; thinks the respectable Tories were more to blame. But it was true that the Communists were anti-war and the Oxford Union's "we won't fight for King or Country" got things confused. The general strike in 1926 and the Depression influenced people's thinking at the time - made people view the Soviet Union favourably - became a model. MW speaks of the influence of Bernal but also sees his weakness. Bernal failed to see the complexities of the human dimensions of science. Goes on to discuss Bernal. MW discusses his politics in Cambridge times and the personalities there and the influence of politics on scientific thinking and medicine. More talk on communism - the trials in the Soviet Union, the attitude of the Soviet Union to Spain and some of the Soviet films.

  • 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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