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What is at the bottom of consciousness?


Getting the balance right between work and relaxation
Francis Crick Scientist
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First of all, I… I was very lucky to get into a good lab and in… a good lab and in Cambridge, you see, because of these personal influences essentially and then, secondly, the problem we work on was a way-out one so there weren’t many other people working either on protein structure or any of these other things, so there really wasn’t an enormous amount of competition. It wasn’t as if lots of groups were… had got the technique and were all focused, you know, on… on the same problem so it was more relaxed in that way, and so there was more time, you felt you could take things more easily and was more social life. Although people have social lives, you know, even under these competitive conditions; they have games of softball and they have picnics and this, that and the other. There’s quite… quite a bit of… or… or… parties and so on. I’ve noticed that even though these people have to work very hard and have to get grants and so on, nevertheless, they do need some relaxation and they also will go off on holidays, mountain climbing or whatever and get away, which is very sensible. So, it… it really… it really kills you if you… if you try and keep your nose to the grindstone all the time and I think people realise that. They need a… a relaxation and a change and… and so on. You… you have to be careful you're not… don’t get into that habit of having to work every evening and every weekend and not take a holiday. You’ll soon find, you know, that your productivity goes down and you're not enjoying life as much.

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: Cambridge University

Duration: 1 minute, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: 1993

Date story went live: 08 January 2010