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The difficulties solving scientific problems


The triplet code
Francis Crick Scientist
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The… we… I did an experiment with… with a lady, Leslie Barnett, and we put the plates in the incubator sometime in the afternoon and we came back in the evening to look at them and we… if the… if the result was what we expected, namely that it was called a triplet code, never mind exactly what that is, then there would be some plaques on one of these plates, you see. And we took out that plate and it got plaques on it, so the first thing we did, make… check we'd got the plates… hadn’t got the plates mixed up by checking all the labels and then I did say to Leslie Barnett, ‘You realise you and I are the only people in the world who know that it’s a triplet code’, so we did actually use that phrase at the time.

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: Leslie Barnett

Duration: 44 seconds

Date story recorded: 1993

Date story went live: 24 January 2008