Skip to main contentU.S. National Library of MedicineU.S. National Library of Medicine

Profiles in Science
Pinterest badge Follow Profiles in Science on Pinterest!

The Francis Crick Papers

Letter from James D. Watson to Francis Crick pdf (535,016 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from James D. Watson to Francis Crick
Watson mentioned his first attempts to produce X-ray images of crystals of ribonucleic acid (RNA) after his arrival at the California Institute of Technology in the summer of 1953. Among other scientists he mentioned Christian Anfinsen in this letter, calling him "the most productive protein chemist in the States," as well as Richard Feynman, the theoretical physicist, who showed great interest in the double helix (as indeed several physicists did, including George Gamow, also mentioned in the letter) and in the genetic code, and who conducted some experiments with DNA himself. Moreover, Watson reported that the famous chemist Linus Pauling was still being denied a passport because of his peace activism.
NOTE: The date on the letter is a mistake by Watson, due to the new year. This letter was written in 1954, not 1953.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (535,016 Bytes)
Date Supplied:
14 January 1954
Watson, James D.
Crick, Francis
Original Repository: Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
   Disclaimer; please review our Privacy Policy
Reproduced with permission of James D. Watson.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Crystallography, X-Ray
Exhibit Category:
Defining the Genetic Coding Problem, 1954-1957
Box Number: 26
Folder Number: PP/CRI/D/2/45
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence
SubSeries: Individual Correspondents
Folder: Correspondence: Watson, James D
January 14, 1953
Dear Francis,
About reprints: 100 is sufficient for me -- About payment -- do you think the MRC would pay for them -- possibly out of my ancient funds -- there should still be some left over. If not I will send you a check for 2-7-5.
About Crane -- his address is Dept. of Physics -- University of Michigan -- his initials are H.R. I do not have a reprint. (1950)
Gamov was fun -- Did you see Anfinson [sic] -- I am impressed by him -- I think him to be the most productive protein chemist in the states. It is very nice that he is working on ribonuclease.
Our RNA fibres [sic] give fibre [sic] photographs -- still very fuzzy (nature of speciman [sic]?) but I think we will do better. As yet unable to determine fibre repeat. Because of long
exposure times and paucity of windows. it will probably be several monthes [sic] before picture becomes clear. Nevertheless very happy.
Feynmann [sic] is also interested in DNA and RNA. -- have spent much of last 5 days talking with him. He thinks faster than anything I have ever met. -- always sees the point -- he suggests following title for article -- "Mystery of Life remains Unravelled [sic]." I am now more stimulated than at any time since my return to the states. He is really fantastic.
Pauling is not in India -- in fact in Pasadena -- No passport -- The bloody buggers -- Still very hush-hush -- he does not want it publicized
This will probably be my last note before Odile returns to England. Naturally my very best wishes for a smooth crossing
Metadata Last Modified Date:
Linked Data:
RDF/XML     JSON     JSON-LD     N3/Turtle     N-Triples