Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins CBE FRS (15 December 1916 – 5 October 2004) was a New Zealand-born British biophysicist and Nobel laureate whose research spanned multiple areas of physics and biophysics, contributing to the scientific understanding of phosphorescence, isotope separation, optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction, and to the development of radar.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Wilkins
Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins CBE FRS (15 December 1916 – 5 October 2004) was a New Zealand-born British biophysicist and Nobel laureate whose research spanned multiple areas of physics and biophysics, contributing to the scientific understanding of phosphorescence, isotope separation, optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction, and to the development of radar.
Dec 11, 2020 · Maurice Wilkins, in full Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins, (born December 15, 1916, Pongaroa, New Zealand—died October 6, 2004, London, England), New Zealand-born British biophysicist whose X-ray diffraction studies of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) proved crucial to the determination of DNA’s molecular structure by James D. Watson and Francis Crick.
M aurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins was born at Pongaroa, New Zealand, on December 15th, 1916. His parents came from Ireland; his father Edgar Henry Wilkins was a doctor in the School Medical Service and was very interested in research but had little opportunity for it.
Oct 05, 2004 · Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin worked to determine the structure of the DNA molecule in the early 1950s at King's College in London.
Maurice Wilkins Lived 1916 – 2004. Maurice Wilkins initiated the experimental research into DNA that culminated in Watson and Crick’s discovery of its structure in 1953. Wilkins crystallized DNA in a form suitable for quantitative X-ray diffraction work and obtained the best quality X-ray images seen at that time.
- Early life
- Later years
- Academic career
- Awards and honours
James Watson and Francis Crick solved the structure of DNA. Other scientists, like Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins, also contributed to this discovery.
Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins was born in Pongaroa, New Zealand. His father was a doctor and in order to pursue his interest in preventative medicine, moved the family to England when Wilkins was six. Wilkins believes that having spent his formative years in New Zealand, he was imbued with the exploratory and adventuresome nature of the early settlers - traits that proved useful in his career as a scientists.
In 1943, the physics department at Birmingham University, Wilkins included, moved to Berkeley, California to work on the Manhattan Project. At the time, it was all part of the war effort. However, after the devastating effects of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Wilkins became and continues to be an opponent against nuclear weapons.
After the war, Wilkins was hired as a physics lecturer at St. Andrews' University. Here, he again met with John Randall, now Sir John, who wanted to use physics to study biological problems. Randall was offered a full professorship at King's College in London and there he set up a biophysics lab with Wilkins as one of his members of the Medical Research Council Biophysics Research Unit.
Wilkins studied biological molecules like DNA and viruses using a variety of microscopes and spectrophotometers. He eventually began using X-rays to produce diffraction images of DNA molecules. The X-ray diffraction images produced by him, Rosalind Franklin, and Raymond Gosling led to the deduction by James Watson and Francis Crick of the 3-dimensional helical nature of DNA. Wilkins shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Watson and Crick.
Wilkins was made a Companion of the British Empire in 1962 and won other awards and prizes for his work. He collected sculptures and was fond of gardening.
Maurice Wilkins, best known as the third man of DNA.
Dec 14, 2017 · Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins or people called him Maurice Wilkins gave a great contribution to the scientific understanding of phosphorescence, isotope separation, optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction and to the development of radar. Amazingly, he was best known for his work at King’s College London on the structure of DNA.
Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin, together with Ray Gosling, Alec Stokes and Herbert Wilson and other colleagues at the MRC Biophysics Research Unit at King's, made crucial contributions to the discovery of DNA's structure in 1953. Wilkins began using optical spectroscopy to study DNA in the late 1940s.
Feel-Good results for Maurice Wilkins
- Discovering The Structure of DNA
- Maurice Wilkins
- James Watson and Francis Crick
- Separate Career Paths
- Further Recognition
The molecule that is the basis for heredity, DNA, contains the patterns for constructing proteins in the body, including the various enzymes. A new understanding of heredity and hereditary disease was possible once it was determined that DNA consists of two chains twisted around each other, or double helixes, of alternating phosphate and sugar groups, and that the two chains are held together by hydrogen bonds between pairs of organic bases—adenine (A) with thymine (T), and guanine (G) with cytosine (C). Modern biotechnology also has its basis in the structural knowledge of DNA—in this case the scientist’s ability to modify the DNA of host cells that will then produce a desired product, for example, insulin. The background for the work of the four scientists was formed by several scientific breakthroughs: the progress made by X-ray crystallographers in studying organic macromolecules; the growing evidence supplied by geneticists that it was DNA, not protein, in chromosomes that was...
Already at work at King’s College was Maurice Wilkins, a New Zealand–born but Cambridge-educated physicist. As a new PhD he worked during World War II on the improvement of cathode-ray tube screens for use in radar and then was shipped out to the United States to work on the Manhattan Project. Like many other nuclear physicists, he became disillusioned with his subject when it was applied to the creation of the atomic bomb; he turned instead to biophysics, working with his Cambridge mentor, John T. Randall—who had undergone a similar conversion—first at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and then at King’s College London. It was Wilkins’s idea to study DNA by X-ray crystallographic techniques, which he had already begun to implement when Franklin was appointed by Randall. The relationship between Wilkins and Franklin was unfortunately a poor one and probably slowed their progress.
Meanwhile, in 1951, 23-year-old James Watson, a Chicago-born American, arrived at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. Watson had two degrees in zoology: a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and a doctorate from Indiana University, where he became interested in genetics. He had worked under Salvador E. Luria at Indiana on bacteriophages, the viruses that invade bacteria in order to reproduce—a topic for which Luria received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1969. Watson went to Denmark for postdoctoral work, to continue studying viruses and to remedy his relative ignorance of chemistry. At a conference in the spring of 1951 at the Zoological Station at Naples, Watson heard Wilkins talk on the molecular structure of DNA and saw his recent X-ray crystallographic photographs of DNA. He was hooked. Watson soon moved to the Cavendish Laboratory, where several important X-ray crystallographic projects were in progress. Under the leadership of William Lawrence Brag...
Then they moved off in different directions. Franklin went to Birkbeck College, London, to work in J. D. Bernal’s laboratory, a much more congenial setting for her than King’s College. Before her untimely death from cancer she made important contributions to the X-ray crystallographic analysis of the structure of the tobacco mosaic virus, a landmark in the field. By the end of her life she had become friends with Francis Crick and his wife and had moved her laboratory to Cambridge, where she undertook dangerous work on the poliovirus. Wilkins applied X-ray techniques to the structural determination of nerve cell membranes and of ribonucleic acid (RNA)—a molecule that is associated with chemical synthesis in the living cell—while rising in rank and responsibility at King’s College. Watson’s subsequent career eventually took him to the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) of Quantitative Biology on Long Island, New York, where as director from 1968 onward he led it to new heights as a...
In 2005 James Watson was honored with the Othmer Gold Medalfrom the Chemical Heritage Foundation, now the Science History Institute, for his scientific talent, which has given the world a new intellectual understanding of the nature of life, making possible modern biotechnology and a better life for all mankind.