Sunday, September 28, 2014

FRANCIS CRICK

FRANCIS CRICK
 AKA Francis Harry Compton Crick
Born: 8-Jun-1916
Birthplace: Northampton, England
Died: 28-Jul-2004
Location of death: San Diego, CA [1]
Cause of death: Cancer - Colon
Remains: Cremated (ashes scattered in the Pacific Ocean)
Gender: Male
Religion: Atheist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist
Nationality: England

Executive summary: Co-Discoverer of the structure of DNA
Military service: British Navy (Admiralty Research Laboratory, WWII)
Francis Crick's grandfather was a shoemaker and amateur scientist. His Uncle Walter also had a fascination with science, and young Francis conducted some chemical experiments with him (and without him). As a young man, Crick studied physics at University College in London, but was interrupted by service in World War II. Afterward, he resumed his studies at Caius College in Cambridge.
    At Cambridge, he met an American named James Watson, and together with their colleague Maurice Wilkins, they tried to elucidate the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). They felt Linus Pauling, then the world's most famous chemist, was breathing down their necks, and they desperately wanted to solve the DNA riddle before he did. Pauling had already come close, but it was Crick, Watson, and Wilkins who first showed that the collected clues only made sense if DNA were structured like two twisting, spiral ladders -- the double helix.
    Some have suggested that Rosalind Franklin, who worked with Crick, Watson, and Wilkins, may deserve much more credit than she's been given. The evidence clearly shows she was intimately involved in the research of DNA's structure; that she pointed out the flaws in an early Crick-Watson theory that suggested three, not two, DNA chains; and that Crick and Watson used Franklin's x-ray DNA photographs before obtaining her permission. Franklin, however, died in 1958, four years before Crick, Watson, and Wilkins got their Nobel Prizes.
   Crick and Watson also theorized on the structure of viruses. Without Watson, Crick has worked on the structures of polyglycine II and collagen, and researched protein synthesis, the genetic code, and acridine-type mutants. After receiving the Nobel Prize Crick refocused his studies on finding neural correlate of consciousness. He worked at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California.
Father: Harry Crick
Mother: Annie Elizabeth Wilkins Crick












Monday, April 8, 2013

JAMES WATSON

JAMES WATSON

AKA James Dewey Watson
Born: 6-Apr-1928Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Gender: MaleReligion: AtheistRace or Ethnicity: WhiteOccupation: Scientist
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Co-Discoverer of DNA
James Watson was a bright young American who entered the University of Chicago at the age of 15. He was particularly interested in birds, and quickly earned a BS and Ph.D. in zoology, then went to Europe to study genetics.
At Cambridge, he met a Brit named Francis Crick, and together with their colleague Maurice Wilkins, they tried to elucidate the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). They felt Linus Pauling, then the world's most famous chemist, was breathing down their necks, and they desperately wanted to solve the DNA riddle before he did. Pauling had already come close, but it was Crick, Watson, and Wilkins who first showed that the collected clues only made sense if DNA were structured like two twisting, spiral ladders -- the double helix.
Some have suggested that Rosalind Franklin, who worked with Crick, Watson, and Wilkins, may deserve much more credit than she's been given. The evidence clearly shows she was intimately involved in the research of DNA's structure; that she pointed out the flaws in an early Crick-Watson theory that suggested three, not two, DNA chains; and that Crick and Watson used Franklin's x-ray DNA photographs before obtaining her permission. Franklin, however, died in 1958, four years before Crick, Watson, and Wilkins got their Nobel Prizes.
Crick and Watson also theorized on the structure of viruses. Without Crick, Watson studied x-ray diffraction in ribonucleic acid (RNA), and the role of RNA in protein synthesis. He's taught at CalTech and Harvard, and served as director and president of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York, studying tumor virology, the molecular basis of cancer, and oncogenes (cancer genes).
In October 2007, Watson sparked controversy when he said in an interview that he was "inherently gloomy" about Africa's future because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really". He later apologized "unreservedly" and said there is "no scientific basis for such a belief."
Father: James Dewey Watson (businessman)
Mother: Jean Mitchell (d. 1957)
Wife: Elizabeth Lewis (m. 25-Mar-1968, two sons)

 




Thursday, February 7, 2013

HAROLD UREY


HAROLD UREY
 
Born: 29-Apr-1893
Birthplace: Walkerton, IN
Died: 5-Jan-1981
Location of death: La Jolla, CA
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Fairfield Cemetery, Fairfield Center, IN
Gender: Male
Religion: Atheist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Chemist
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Discovered Deuterium

American chemist and physicist Harold C. Urey studied under Niels Bohr at Copenhagen, and is best known for his 1931 discovery of deuterium (heavy hydrogen, the isotope of hydrogen, with one proton and one neutron in its nucleus). He later said he had hoped that this discovery "might have the practical value of, say, neon in neon signs", but its principle use has proven to be in nuclear fusion reactions. Urey won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1934, and also isolated heavy isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur, conducted respected research in astronomy, geology, and biology.
During World War I he worked as for the Barrett Chemical Company, preparing toluene for the manufacture of trinitrotoluene (TNT). In 1930 he was co-author of Atoms, Molecules, and Quanta, the first widely-used English-language textbook on quantum mechanics and atomic and molecular systems. He was conducting classified research into development of atomic weapons even before World War II, and became a key figure in the Manhattan Project. Working with a team of scientists, he developed the Urey diffusion method to separate uranium-235 from uranium-238.
Within months of the atomic bombing of two cities in Japan, however, Urey authored "I'm A Frightened Man" in the widely-read Collier's magazine, outlining the dangers posed by this new technology. He became a more politically controversial figure in 1952, when he wrote a letter to President Harry S. Truman in support of his colleagues, Morton Sobell and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who had been accused of espionage. He later became active with the Union of Concerned Scientists, expressing concern about the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the safety of nuclear power generators.
The Miller-Urey experiment, conducted by Urey's graduate student Stanley Miller in 1953, showed that numerous amino acids necessary for life can be easily produced by heating and agitating ammonia, hydrogen, methane, and water in an airtight container. This "primordial soup" experiment contributed to now-widely accepted theories explaining the origins of the Earth and other planets.
The son of a Christian minister, Urey became an atheist early in his adulthood. He is the namesake of an asteroid, a lunar crater, and the Urey Prize of the American Astronomical Society, awarded annually since 1984 to honor outstanding achievements in planetary science by a young scientist. He was outspoken in his belief that life on other planets is probable, and that humans cannot possibly be the most intelligent species in the universe.
Father: Samuel Clayton Urey (Church of the Brethern minister, b. 1866, d. 1899)
Mother: Cora Rebecca Reinsehl Urey
Wife: Frieda Daum Urey (b. 1898, m. 12-Jun-1926, d. 1992, three daughters, one son)