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Visual illusions


What's happening in molecular biology now?
Francis Crick Scientist
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There is an enormous amount going on in molecular biology because just about the time that I came to California and switched to neuroscience the techniques of recombinant DNA came in and molecular biology got a second wind, you might say, and has really taken off. And it's not only that they’ve discovered certain basic things in… in the simple models that we had but, of course, they’re applying it to many… so many other things like sequencing the whole human genome and finding out eventually what all our genes are and what they do and how they… how they all in… and after that how everything interacts together and all the controls work and so on. So, there’s… certainly plenty… plenty going on there and, moreover, it will… the techniques of molecular biology and the things we’ve just mentioned will help us in… attacking the brain because we need new techniques in order to answer the questions. People are always puzzled in science as how you know the answers. One man, I believe, at a high table in Oxford or Cambridge who overhead two scientists talking said, ‘How on earth can you know about these things if you can't see them?’ Because they were talking about atoms or… fundamental particles or something like that. Well, that’s the nature of science. That you have to make a lot of observations and then make hypotheses and then put them together. You don’t actually have to see things with your own eyes, not that seeing through your own eyes can’t be misleading too but...

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: California, Oxford University, Cambridge University

Duration: 1 minute, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: 1993

Date story went live: 08 January 2010