Wilkins, Maurice Hugh Frederick

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Wilkins, Maurice Hugh Frederick,

1916–2004, British biophysicist, b. New Zealand, Ph.D. Univ. of Birmingham, 1940. He conducted research at the Univ. of St. Andrews, Scotland, and at Kings College, the Univ. of London (from 1946 until his death). In Berkeley, Calif., he worked (1944) for the Manhattan Project on the separation of uranium isotopes for use in atomic bombs. Shortly thereafter, he discontinued his research in nuclear physics to concentrate on problems in molecular biology, particularly the structure of DNA (see nucleic acidnucleic acid,
any of a group of organic substances found in the chromosomes of living cells and viruses that play a central role in the storage and replication of hereditary information and in the expression of this information through protein synthesis.
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). In the early 1950s Wilkins successfully extracted some fibers from a gel of DNA, and began photographing them using X-ray diffraction, but his best sample was passed to another researcher, Rosalind FranklinFranklin, Rosalind Elsie,
1920–58, English molecular biologist and chemist, grad. Newnham College, Cambridge (1941). She spent most of the war years (1942–45) working for the British Coal Utilisation Research Association, investigating the physical chemistry of
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. On the basis of X-ray photographs prepared by her laboratory that appeared to show a helical molecular structure and from other scientific information, F. H. C. CrickCrick, Francis Harry Compton,
1916–2004, English scientist, grad. University College, London, and Caius College, Cambridge. Crick was trained as a physicist, and from 1940 to 1947 he served as a scientist in the admiralty, where he designed circuitry for naval mines.
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 and J. D. WatsonWatson, James Dewey,
1928–, American biologist and educator, b. Chicago, Ill., grad. Univ. of Chicago, 1947, Ph.D. Univ. of Indiana, 1950. With F. H. C. Crick he began (1951) research on the molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) at the Cavendish Laboratory at
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 built a model of the DNA molecule and explained its function. For their work the three men shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.


See his autobiography (2003).

Wilkins, Maurice Hugh Frederick


Born Dec. 15, 1916, in Pongaroa, New Zealand. British biophysicist. Fellow of the Royal Society (1959).

Wilkins graduated from Cambridge University and received a Ph.D. degree from Birmingham University in 1940. In 1945 he taught at St. Andrews University. In 1946 he joined the faculty of King’s College, University of London, where he became a professor and chairman of the department of molecular biology in 1962 and a professor of biophysics in 1970.

Wilkins confirmed the double-helix molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid by using X-ray diffraction analysis. He has conducted research on luminescence and the electron trap theory of phosphorescence and on the biophysics of the nervous system. In 1962, Wilkins won the Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine jointly with F. Crick and J. Watson.


Watson, J. D. Dvoinaia spiral’. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from English.)
Olby, R. The Path to the Double Helix. Cambridge, 1974.
References in periodicals archive ?
Rosalind's former boss Maurice Wilkins at the 2003 launch of a Royal Mint coin celebrating 50 years since the discovery of DNA
Maurice Wilkins. They made tons of money starting with the prize money itself, landed prestigious jobs, speaking engagements, book deals, you name it.
Watson and Crick won a Nobel Prize in 1962 with Maurice Wilkins for their work, which helped lay the foundation for molecular biology and the manipulation of genes.
Maurice Wilkins, Edinburgh, said: "What is McCoist doing?
Watson, along with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962.
For example, the first day of class includes a presentation on the basic structure of DNA, which is supplemented with photographs of the key scientists involved (e.g., Watson, Crick, Maurice Wilkins, and, of course, Franklin).
Watson, still alive today in the USA, was thus brutally reminded not only that there is but one human race, but also that African genes contributed to the Nobel Prize in "Physiology or Medicine" which he jointly won with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins in 1962 on the DNA Double Helix.
Rosalind Franklin y Maurice Wilkins fotografian el ADN al emplear cristalografia de rayos x
In 1952 he went to work with Maurice Wilkins at Kings College London on the structure of DNA, and it was their paper together with work produced by James Watson and Francis Crick in Cambridge which opened the way to the famous double helix model.
Watson shared a Nobel Prize with Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins in 1962 for co-discovering the structure of the DNA molecule.
As Crick and Watson built possible DNA models, Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins photographed the molecule with X-rays.