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Having a scientific mind


My parents deal with a 'scientific' child
Francis Crick Scientist
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No, my parents were rather, I think, surprised to find that they had a budding scientist in the family, because they had very little scientific background as far as they were… well, my… my father had to go and… and help run his factory because his father had died… died at a… at a rather young age, and… but they had a, sort of, literary circle and they would read plays and this kind of thing. I never attended those, I always remember going to sleep while all the people were arriving and things of that sort. It was in… it was in Northampton, provincial England. And… and… but they were very… especially… especially my mother, I think, were… were very supportive; they thought, sort of, science was important and they wanted to encourage me so I didn’t have any… they didn’t… they didn’t know what to do in order to help me. I remember at one stage they tried… they asked some physicist they’d met who happened to be visiting the town, it was a friend… what, you know, what should he do? And so on. They didn’t know themselves and they certainly… were very little help in explaining scientific things to me. It was just the opposite. I would usually have to explain things to my mother because she wasn’t very scientific minded.

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: Northampton, England, Harry Crick, Annie Elizabeth Crick

Duration: 1 minute, 16 seconds

Date story recorded: 1993

Date story went live: 08 January 2010