“Almost all aspects of life are engineered at the molecular level, and without understanding molecules we can only have a very sketchy understanding of life itself.” - Francis Crick, What Mad Pursuit: A Personal View of Scientific Discovery (1988)
Sixty-six years ago today, Cambridge University scientists James Watson and Francis Crick burst into a nearby pub, proudly proclaiming they had discovered the secret of life. Watson and Crick had unraveled the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule for genetic material. The duo published their findings in April 1953, explaining the answer to a mystery that baffled scientists for decades since DNA’s discovery in 1869 by chemist Friedrich Miescher. For their role in uncovering one of the building blocks of life, Watson and Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962.