Francis Crick: Biophysicist and Co-discover of James Watson

The D.N.A. strand’s dual-helix arrangement is credited to Francis Crick with the co-discovery of James Watson.

The biophysicist Francis Crick was supporting the production of radar and magnetic mines during the Second World War.

After the war, he continued to study D.N.A. systems for the Medical Research Council of the University of Cambridge in his James D. Watson Cavendish Laboratory. In 1962, for his thesis, he received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine and researched until he died in 2004.

Quick Facts of Francis Crick

Full Name

Francis Harry Compton Crick

Nick Name



June 8, 1916

Age of Death

88 years old (1916 – 2004)


Weston Favell, Northampton, United Kingdom






MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

University College London

Mill Hill School

Northampton School for Boys

University of Cambridge

Gonville and Caius College





Molecular Biologist



Double Helix

Marital Status



Ruth Doreen Dodd (1940 – 1947)

Odile Crick (1949 – 2004)


Michael Francis Compton

Jacqueline Marie

Gabrielle Anne

Net Worth

Under Review

Social Media Presence


Early Life

François Harry Compton Crick was born in Northampton, the U.K., on June 8, 1916, and taught at Mill Hill College, London, and the Northampton Grammar School. He studied physics and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1937 at University College London

Shortly afterward, he started to do studies for a doctorate, but in 1939, the Second World War’s start disrupted his trajectory. During the war, he focused on strategic research and the production of magnetic and acoustic mines.

The biophysicist Francis Crick
The biophysicist Francis Crick

After the battle, Dr. R.V. Jones, the chief of British intelligence, needed Crick to resume his study, but Crick preferred to continue his biology studies. He didn’t know anything of them at this time.

Francis Crick was primarily funded by a Medical Research Council scholarship and went to the Strangeways Research Laboratory in Cambridge, where he moved to the Cavendish Laboratory in 1949.

In 1951, a young American biologist named James Watson started his study at the laboratory, and James and Crick developed a working collaboration that unveiled the secrets of the D.N.A. structure. In 1954, Crick got a Ph.D. at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge.

Career life of Francis Crick

Crick drew success for Erwin Schrödinger, “How can the activities of space and time which is taking place within the living organism be accounted for by physics and chemistry?.”

Watson persuaded Crick that opening up the secrets of D.N.A.’s structure will provide the answer to the question from Schrödinger and demonstrate the inherited function of D.N.A. In 1953, Watson and Crick developed a molecular model of the known physical and chemical properties of D.N.A. using ray-X diffraction studies.

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It was made up of two spiral strands, similar to a twisted ladder (referred to as the “double helix”). They assumed that should both sides divide, each side would be the basis for forming new strands identical to their previous partners. 

They also hypothesized that This hypothesis and further studies clarified a gene’s mechanism and the chromosome replication.

Crick was involved in two simple, unanswered biological problems: how molecules transition from the non-living into the living and how the brain makes a mind alive. In his opinion, Gregor Mendel’s genetics and molecular understanding of genesis revealed the secret of creation when paired with the natural selection theory of growth in Charles Darwin

Francis Crick Test Tube Research

Crick’s opinion was strongly positive that a test tube would produce life very quickly. The covalent bonds in biological molecules that could provide the structural stability required to preserve genetic knowledge in the cells were obvious in principle.

Francis Crick educating his students
Francis Crick educating his students

In April 1953, in the book scientific journal Nature, Watson and Crick issued a paper outlining their double-helical D.N.A. structure. 

They used English chemist Rosalind Franklin, a Maurice Wilkins colleague, to come to their pioneering discovery at King’s College. Still, their contribution to their observations remained largely unnoticed until she died.

Crick taught himself the X-ray crystallography theory. He observed the mistakes made by his co-workers in their unsuccessful efforts to make the alpha helix a correct molecular model. Crick learned major lessons that could be extended to D.N.A.’s helical structure in the future.

At the time, Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins used X-ray diffraction to study D.N.A., both working at King’s College, London. In their study, Crick and Watson used their results. 

They released the news in April 1953 that they had discovered a molecular structure of D.N.A. based on all its recognized characteristics, the double helix. Its model was used to demonstrate how D.N.A. replicates and how it codes hereditary knowledge.

Franklin’s unpublished working papers on the structural features of D.N.A. have been collected and with her student. Raymond Gosling had taken a picture of D.N.A. X-ray diffraction, called Photo 51, which would be critical for determining the D.N.A. structure.

Although the Watson and Crick paper contained a footnote admitting that they ‘stimulate a general awareness’ of Franklin’s unfinished contributions, in 1962, four years after Franklin died of ovarian cancer, Watson, Wilkins, and Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize for their works.

Francis Crick Biology

Francis Crick started biology in 1947, at the age of 31, and became a part of an important migration of physical scientists to study biology.

The freshly won influence of physicists like Sir John Randall has made this migration possible. From “the elegance and the deep simplicity” of physics, Crick had to adapt to “the elaborated mechanisms of chemical production which natural selection has evolved over billions of years.”

Francis Crick with his Wife
Francis Crick with his Wife

In 1962 Watson, Crick, and Wilkins won the Nobel Prize in the field of Medicine. In 1958 Franklin died, but the award could not be won posthumously considering her significant experimental work. For their service, both Crick and Watson won several other awards.

Francis Crick continued his genetics and became Professor at the Salk Institute in California in brain science. On July 28, 2004, he died.

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James Watson headed the Human Genome Project at the American National Institutes of Health between 1988 and 1992. He helped finance the project and encouraged collaboration between governments and leading scientists.

Some commentators felt that Crick suggested that the D.N.A. code was “dogma,” meaning that it was a compelling idea to accept it without solid evidence.

Most of the code’s specifics come from Marshall Nirenberg and others who synthesized synthetic R.N.A. molecules and used them as in vitro protein synthesis models.

Later Life and Death

Crick expressed his opinions on the relationship between science and religion in his book Of Molecules and Men. Skeptical of organized religion, he was. Crick resigned his honorary fellowship in protest at Churchill College, Cambridge, when there was no new college chapel. 

He felt it was important to teach in schools by natural selection.

Francis Crick Sold his Nobel Prize for $2 Million
Francis Crick Sold his Nobel Prize for $2 Million

Crick researched D.N.A. again, and in 1962, was appointed Director of the Molecular Biology Laboratory of the University of Cambridge and Fellow (non-resident) of the Californian Salk Institute. 

He wrote about the new biochemistry revolution of Molecules and Men a few years back. Crick wrote “Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature” (1981), which he proposed to seed life on Earth in another world, and “What’s Farce: A Personal View of Scientific Discovery” (1988).

In 1961, he received the Charles Leopold Meyer Prize of the National Academy of Sciences, whereas, in 1962, the Gairdner Foundation’s Merit Award. In combination with J. D. Watson, a professor for the 1959 Warren Triennial Prize and honored in 1962.

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Watson and M with J. D. In 1960, the Lasker Foundation Award to H. F. Wilkins. In 1962 he was appointed a Foreign Honorary Associate and a Fellow of the University College, London, at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He died on July 28, 2004, in La Jolla, California.

Net worth of Francis Crick

No data is available now, how many Crick was worth, but we can tell he sure was a rich man and a successful scientist.

Francis Crick Quotes

  • There is no scientific study more vital to man than the study of his own brain. Our entire view of the universe depends on it.
  • It is essential to understand our brains in some detail if we are to assess correctly our place in this vast and complicated universe we see all around us.
  • Human beings… are far too prone to generalize from one instance. The technical word for this, interestingly enough, is superstition.
  • A person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behavior of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make them up and influence them.
  • It is amateurs who have one big bright beautiful idea that they can never abandon. Professionals know that they have to produce theory after theory before they are likely to hit the jackpot.
  • Christianity may be OK between consenting adults in private but should not be taught to young children.
  • The dangerous man is the one who has only one idea because then he’ll fight and die for it.


  1. Who was Francis Crick and what did he do?

Francis Crick was one of Britain’s great scientists who identified the structure of DNA in 1953, drawing on the work of Maurice Wilkins, Rosalind Franklin, and others.

  1. What did Crick do for DNA?

The discovery in 1953 of the double helix, the twisted-ladder structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), by James Watson and Francis Crick marked a milestone in the history of science and gave rise to modern molecular biology.

  1. Did Watson and Crick win a Nobel Prize?

Yes, Watson and Crick won The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962.

  1. How did Crick discover DNA?

Watson and Crick realized that DNA was made up of two chains of nucleotide pairs that encode the genetic information for all living things.

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