Francis Crick Discoverer of the Genetic Code Eminent Lives

Francis Crick Discoverer of the Genetic Code Eminent Lives rough edge ❮Reading❯ ➿ Francis Crick Discoverer of the Genetic Code Eminent Lives rough edge Author Matt Ridley – Francis Crick who died at the age of eighty eight in 2004 will be bracketed with Galileo Darwin and Einstein as one of the great scientists of all time Between 1953 and 1966 he made and led a revoluti Francis Crick who died at Discoverer of PDF/EPUB Â the age of eighty eight in will be bracketed with Galileo Darwin and Einstein as one of the great scientists of all Francis Crick PDF \ time Between and he made and led a revolution in biology by discovering uite literally the secret of life the digital cipher at the heart of heredity Crick Discoverer of PDF Î that distinguishes living from non living things the genetic code His own discoveries though he always worked with one other partner and did much of his thinking in conversation Crick Discoverer of the Genetic ePUB ´ include not only the double helix but the whole mechanism of protein synthesis the three letter nature of the code and much of the code itselfMatt Ridley's biography traces Crick's life from middle class mediocrity in the English Midlands through a lackluster education and six years designing magnetic mines for the Royal Navy to his leap into biology at the age of thirty one While at Cambridge he suddenly began to display the uniue visual imagination and intense tenacity of thought that would allow him to see the solutions to several great scientific conundrums and to Crick Discoverer of the Genetic ePUB ´ see them long before most biologists had even conceived of the problems Having set out to determine what makes living creatures alive and having succeeded he immigrated at age sixty to California and turned his attention to the second uestion that had fascinated him since his youth What makes conscious creatures conscious Time ran out before he could find the answer.

10 thoughts on “Francis Crick Discoverer of the Genetic Code Eminent Lives rough edge

  1. Jason Mills Jason Mills says:

    This is a short biography but also very concise If one were to remove from it everything that was not directly relevant to giving a picture of Crick and his achievements the thing would be no than a paragraph shorter It's a fact packed straight to the point account and is all the interesting for thatWe learn of Crick's war work on mines his early forarys into protein structures the fateful partnership with Watson his 'ringmaster' role in the later unravelling of the genetic code his dalliance with embryology and his final years delving into neuroscience We get to know him as garrulous hard working blunt irritating endlessly curious diligently assimilating bursting with ideas easily drawn into conflict but readily reconciling later We see how throughout his career he relied on bouncing ideas off an eually bright foil Watson Brenner KochWhilst there is interest on every page the middle section of the book detailing the years spent bringing about the decoding of genetic triplets is positively thrilling No doubt there will be longer biographies of Crick but this one reads like the distilled essence of a life Great stuff

  2. Peter Tillman Peter Tillman says:

    On the point of abandoning sending this one back because I'm so swamped with better books on hand I just never warmed to this one but lots of other folks like it I'm leaving it unrated but caveat lector The weird cover photo doesn't help

  3. Andrew Andrew says:

    This is the second book in the Eminent Lives series that I've read and this one is as different from the first Bill Bryson's book on Shakespeare as Bryson is different from Ridley Bryson's forced to detail the life of the Bard from a scant historical record; Ridley has an abundance of material in his detailed account of Francis Crick Discoverer of the Genetic Code including Crick's family and collaboratorsI was surprised in reading the account to get a detailed description of each of the steps to arriving at the structure of DNA and surprised too that its significance took so long to be confirmed and accepted by non geneticists Ridley's than just a great fan his epilogue says Because of the momentous nature of his discoveries Francis Crick must eventually be bracketed with Galileo Darwin and Einstein as one of the great scientists of all time Ridley says that it is even surprising given youthful mediocrity He attributes it to his relentless pursuit of evidence and his ability to synthesize a theory from that evidenceCrick's devotion to his science was such that he wanted to name his daughter Adenine But his wife won out and she would be named Gabrielle instead

  4. Nisa Nisa says:

    The book was a light read finished over a lazy weekend interspersed with binge eating and binge sleeping However it was sort of interesting sort of funny like reading about a hip clever grandpa who was very smart and was a playboy at the same time BTW I had no idea that Crick got interested in Neuroscience at the end of his life Nor that he also played a huge role in defining the central dogma or even the RNA codon code breaking He is such an inspiration as he is the kind of genius that is not math whiz like but like the hardworking type This was a nice change of perspective from The Double Helix written by Watson Isn't it nice to be able to read two different accounts of the same thing? The writing was lucid and easy to follow but I don't know if it made that much impression on me therefore prodding me to reread itThere were some uotes that hit close to home for meRather than believe that Watson and Crick made the DNA structure I would rather stress that the structure made Watson and Crick After all I was almost totally unknown at the time and Watson was regarded in most circles as too bright to be really sound But what I think is overlooked in such arguments is the intrinsic beauty of the DNA double helix It is the molecule which has style uite as much as the scientists p 76Crick once told a newspaper reporter in Hawaii Unlike the jet engine which had to be invented the DNA structure was always there Scientific discoverers are dispensable in a way that artists are not Gravity America and natural selection would all have been discovered by somebody else if Newton Columbus and Darwin had not gotten there first whereas nobody would have written Hamlet painted the Monalisa or composed the Ninth Symphony if Shakespeare Leonardo and Beethoven had not done so Yet it is precisely because scientists have to be first that their achievement is even remarkable Shakespeare did not have to beat Marlowe to the first draft of Hamlet p 76To those of you who may be vitalists I would make this prophecy what everyone believed yesterday and you believe today only cranks will believe tomorrow p 146

  5. Ashish Ashish says:

    A lovely walk through of the life of a GOAT although a short one Francis Crick was a veritable ambassador of science and Matt Ridley's attempt at capturing this is well receivedThe book shows how Francis Crick was a man of intelligent conversations and arguments and not solitary inspiration which I think is how mathematicians operate As Sydney Brenner also said Conversations were his grand stimulusThere are some flaws reflected in the book about the premise of consciousness on NCC perhaps it is because of the nature of the field In Consciousness it says The self in other words is a shifting coalition of neurons themselves; and vision is an active not a passive process the construction of an interpretation of what is received by the eyesIf this is a reword of Francis's ideas then I think it is myopic pun intended because it implies that the blind are unaware of the self the same goes for other senses Regardless of the outcome of sensory deprivation we still don't know about the nature of consciousness

  6. David P David P says:

    One fast way of judging biographies is by size Not always but all too often big fat ones contain far tiresome detail than the reader ever wants while short pithy ones give just highlights of personalities and events and leave the reader thirsting for By and large brief ones provide a clearer impression at least when as carefully composed as this one is The physicist Wolfgang Pauli once wrote to a friend please excuse me for sending a long letter I didn't have the time to write a short one Matt Ridley took the time condensed Crick's life story while keeping clear both the science and the personality behind it no mean task and the result is inspiring and delightful Crick shared with James Watson the 1962 Nobel prize for discovering the double helix structure of DNA the long stringy molecule in which all genetic information is encoded as a seuence of 4 different chemical units Watson later published a controversial and brash account of the discovery The Double Helix and became a something of a public celebrity leaving Crick half hidden in the shade This book much recent Crick died in 2004 not only restores the balance but suggests that Crick's role in laying the foundation of modern genetics may have been profound than Watson's This is a biography a life in science and a reader may well wonder what made Crick the great scientist he became Talent? Sure but talented people are not all that unusual In Crick's case three things seem to have made a difference persistence friendships and luck Persistence means a single minded pursuit of ideas often led by no than dimly formed guesses Guesses may turn out to be right on the mark or else they may be false leads which peter out or are refuted and then they must be abandoned even if a lot of work had been invested Persistence also means constant reading of new publications keeping notes and seeking clues seeking out ideas the way a jigsaw addict looks for the missing piece that fits Friendship means seeking out people who share one's scientific vision sharp enough to debate it meaningfully partners whose critical interest in the same type of problems is often the essential goad that makes a researcher try his best It is a mutual relationship bonding together scientists at the forefront of almost any active scientific field and also usually spills over into the social arena James Watson Maurice Wilkins Sidney Brenner and others shared Crick's circle but interestingly Rosalind Franklin was there too up to her untimely death Watson did not always treat her fairly in his book and later writers debated whether her contribution to the discovery of DNA was properly recognized or not but the fact remains Rosalind Franklin was Crick's friend to the end And luck of course Luck in landing the right job luck in meeting the right people luck in asking the right uestions even when mixed with wrong ones and luck in finding the correct solutions Crick needed all of these not just the last one but as Pasteur famously said chance favors the prepared mind His own efforts often helped tilt the balance He was a thinker and a dreamer and if he did not uncover the innermost secrets of the brain as he wished to do maybe he was simply asking too much We still have no answers even now He and Watson unraveled the genetic role of DNA and were rewarded with the Nobel prize Actually that role had already been uncovered by Oswald Avery a decade earlier though for some reasons the book get rather vague here see p 33 4 the biochemistry community remained unconvinced Watson and Crick convinced it by showing how the code was actually stored and duplicated by the unwinding of a double spiral of identical chain molecules But if that chain held the code for creating proteins essential for life how were these encoded? And how was the gap bridged between the DNA code and the actual creation of proteins? That is where Crick was a major participant Many other talented biochemists took part in that effort but Francis Crick was often the catalyst who orchestrated their teamwork First came the discovery of messenger RNA a long molecule somewhat resembling DNA which could copy the seuence of units on a section of DNA and then carry it to a special cell unit which read it and produced protein molecules according to the code it was given RNA was like a magnetic tape carrying instructions to a computer or in an earlier day a punched paper tape with a similar role But what did the code mean? That was the hard part Proteins are chains of amino acids nitrogen based molecules of which life uses 20 varieties DNA and RNA had 4 types of units two such units could encode only 16 varieties 4 times 4 too few Three units 64 varieties too many Still three was the correct answer often the same amino acid could be encoded in than one way and some encodings served as boundary markers starting or ending the manufacture of a protein chain The result given in a deceptively simple table on page 143 actually represents an enormous effort by a large determined community and was finished in 1966 You can learn a lot of science from this slim book But you will also learn a lot about personality about creativity and about what it takes to lead a purposeful life By the end you will have understood a bit of the creative soul of a person you have never met and maybe will wish you could have met him in life NOTE Note Francis Crick's last and unfinished uest was to understand the human brain A lucid review of the status of such research at the end of 2006 is presented in A Survey of the Brain a series of 6 articles in The Economist 23 December 2006

  7. nobuyuki ishibe nobuyuki ishibe says:

    Well written about the character curiosity thoughtfulness and ingenuity of Francis Crick

  8. Bill Swan Bill Swan says:

    Francis Crick invented life the double helix the explains DNA and how all life is linked The story told here is uite detailed although a bit dry What emerges is the portrait of a man with enthusiasm for living for conversation for ideas Crick emerges as a man who depended on others to respond to and challenge his ideas with the rare ability to at the right point synthesize those ideas is clearly written papersAs someone with no background in biology or the genetic code or even why frogs legs when stimulated by a AAA battery I would have liked explanation of the principles The dry parts of the book are the technical which seems to expect the only reader will be those now at least emerged in advanced studies

  9. Laura Laura says:

    DNA The Double Helix A gripping account of their discovery and personal relationships at scientific level that made them possible Sometimes it s a hunch but most times it is assiduously hard work and study whether in Cambridge UCL Birkbeck or California that are the stuff of breakthroughs Above all Crick teaches us that science is about visions I admire Crick's unbound curiosity and intellectual thirst Although from a human perspective I don't always agree with his viewpoints his work ethic and network creation should be a model for today's academic and scientific circles Ridley does a splendid job of connecting all the dots and bringing together all the various strands of documentation relative to the men and women involved I shall definitely be reading

  10. Mark Ferguson Mark Ferguson says:

    This is the third Eminent Lives book I've read following Christopher Hitchen's book on Jefferson and Paul Johnson's on George Washington Once again I was not disappointed The book is fascinating engaging readable and unromantic Most of all I was not expecting to be inspired but I was Crick didn't start making major discoveries until his thirties after a pretty mediocre young adulthood If you have any interest at all in the discovery of DNA or in the history of modern biology this is highly recommended Even if you don't the book is short and details the life of someone amazing

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