a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


The emotional ups and downs of scientific research


The difficulties solving scientific problems
Francis Crick Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

It’s not quite solving a great big puzzle in the sense of a jigsaw puzzle because a jigsaw puzzle has got very defined rules, and you merely have to search around for the right bits to go where, and you have certain rather broad principles to guide you. It’s much more… less well defined than that, in that you don’t even know that there’s going to be an answer, for example. And… and you… a lot of the information may be wrong. It’s as if… if you were given bits of several puzzles mixed together without being told they were mixed together. And then you had to have the idea, oh, maybe there’s more than one puzzle here and sort the bits out before you tried to put the bits together. It’s complications of that sort. Or you… you may be misled because somebody had taken out a… a piece and put in a false piece. In other words, you’ve got an observation which was misleading, and you have to… you have to get rid of that. So, it’s more complicated than just solving a puzzle. I’m sure there must be things in ordinary, everyday life which are comparable, but I’d be hard pressed to think of an everyday example.

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: puzzle, conundrum, science

Duration: 1 minute, 6 seconds

Date story recorded: 1993

Date story went live: 24 January 2008