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I’d never thought I was anything very special


Darwin's big idea
Francis Crick Scientist
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Oh well, that was… the major idea in biology. I mean, no biologist doubts that. The idea… it was [Charles] Darwin and [Alfred Russel] Wallace, remember, actually, but Darwin did… Wallace just wrote an essay and… and Darwin had actually worked on it long before and worked on it much afterwards and helped more put it over. But it should be Darwin and Wallace who had the idea, and the idea is a transparently simple one, once you’ve grasped it. I mean [Thomas Henry] Huxley said, ‘How could I be so stupid not to have thought of it?’ You see, but having the idea isn’t enough. You must show that it actually operates in… actually in the real world.

The late Francis Crick, one of Britain's most famous scientists, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. He is best known for his discovery, jointly with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins, of the double helix structure of DNA, though he also made important contributions in understanding the genetic code and was exploring the basis of consciousness in the years leading up to his death in 2004.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace, Thomas Henry Huxley

Duration: 37 seconds

Date story recorded: 1993

Date story went live: 24 January 2008