DNA Pioneer Francis Crick Dies at 88

Scientist Made History with Co-Discovery of DNA Structure

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Listen: Hear Ira Flatow, Noah Adams

Listen: 1994 Robert Siegel Interview with Crick

Listen: Watson and Crick Recount Their Eureka Moment

Nobel laureate Francis Crick

Francis Crick, along with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins, won the 1962 Nobel Prize for describing the spiral structure of DNA. Corbis hide caption

toggle caption Corbis
Nobel Laureate Francis Crick

Nobel Laureate Francis Crick Corbis hide caption

toggle caption Corbis
Crick, right, and Watson in 1959.

Crick, right, and Watson in 1959. Corbis hide caption

toggle caption Corbis

Francis Crick, the British scientist who helped discover the double helix structure of DNA has died. He was 88 years old and had been battling colon cancer. NPR's Richard Harris offers a remembrance.

Francis Harry Compton Crick was born in Northampton England in 1916. In 1947 he went to Cambridge University to study physics, but later became interested in biology. In 1951 he began working with an American biologist named James Watson, and in 1953, the pair announced they had determined the structure of DNA, the molecule that carries the codes for genes. The discovery revolutionized biology, and won Crick and Watson the Nobel Prize in 1962 along with their colleague Maurice Wilkins.

In 1977, Crick resigned from the faculty at Cambridge, and gave up molecular biology to devote his attention to studying the brain, both in a biological and a philosophical sense. He joined the faculty of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., where he worked until his death.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from