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Matt Ridley

Francis Crick : discoverer of the genetic code

It's now over 50 years since the discovery of the structure of DNA and, perhaps surprisingly, there is more interest in the discovery now than there was at the time. In Francis Crick : discoverer of the genetic code, Matt Ridley tells of the life of one of the discoverers.Thus we find out how Crick's combination of a supremely logical mind with a tendency to go against the flow resulted in an uncanny ability to pick the right hypothesis. Crick's contribution to science certainly didn't stop with the structure of DNA - he went on tho play an equally important part in working out the code DNA uses to make proteins.

Then came the Nobel prize and the benefits of fame, but we also find out about the disagreements Crick - who had never been afraid to speak his mind - had with other people (including James Watson). In the later part of his life Crick didn't slow down, rather he chose an even more challenging problem to work on - that of consciousness - and was working on this even in his final hours.

As part of the Eminent lives series of short biographies this book doesn't doesn't have the same detail as a more substantial biography would, but Matt Ridley is a skilled writer and I feel that it fulfils its role very well. info
Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 006082333X
Salesrank: 1804017
Published: 2006 Eminent Lives
Amazon price $15.56
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Hardcover 213 pages  
ISBN: 0007213301
Salesrank: 1564644
Weight:0.97 lbs
Published: 2006 HarperPress
Marketplace::Used from £0.58
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Hardcover 224 pages  
ISBN: 006082333X
Salesrank: 1260304
Weight:0.65 lbs
Published: 2006 Eminent Lives
Amazon price CDN$ 49.98
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 29.59:Used from CDN$ 1.98
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Product Description

Francis Crick, who died at the age of eighty-eight in 2004, will be bracketed with Galileo, Darwin, and Einstein as one of the great scientists of all time. Between 1953 and 1966 he made and led a revolution in biology by discovering, quite literally, the secret of life: the digital cipher at the heart of heredity that distinguishes living from non-living things -- the genetic code. His own discoveries -- though he always worked with one other partner and did much of his thinking in conversation -- include not only the double helix but the whole mechanism of protein synthesis, the three-letter nature of the code, and much of the code itself.

Matt Ridley's biography traces Crick's life from middle-class mediocrity in the English Midlands, through a lackluster education and six years designing magnetic mines for the Royal Navy, to his leap into biology at the age of thirty-one. While at Cambridge, he suddenly began to display the unique visual imagination and intense tenacity of thought that would allow him to see the solutions to several great scientific conundrums -- and to see them long before most biologists had even conceived of the problems. Having set out to determine what makes living creatures alive and having succeeded, he immigrated at age sixty to California and turned his attention to the second question that had fascinated him since his youth: What makes conscious creatures conscious? Time ran out before he could find the answer.