Maurice Wilkins dies

Nobel Laureate who played a key role in the elucidation of the double helix was 88

Stephen Pincock(Stephen@thescientisteurope.com)
Oct 5, 2004

Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins, joint winner of the Nobel Prize in 1962 for his role in the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA, died on Tuesday (October 5), Kings College London announced on Wednesday. King's, where Wilkins was still a member of staff, said the eminent researcher died in the hospital surrounded by his family.

Wilkins was born in 1916 and studied physics at St. John's College, Cambridge. During the Second World War, he worked on the separation of uranium isotopes, and then continued this work in Berkeley, Calif., where he joined the Manhattan Project.

As James Watson wrote in his 1968 book, The Double Helix, Wilkins was profoundly disillusioned when the bombs were dropped on Japan. "He considered forsaking science altogether to become a painter in Paris, but biology intervened," Watson wrote. When the war ended, Wilkins became lecturer in physics at St. Andrews...

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