The Unsung Heroes of the Discovery of the Double Helix


  • Mon 29th May 2023

Watson and Crick's unravelling of the double helix structure of the DNA molecule is rightly regarded as a brilliant discovery and breakthrough. The lecture will describe the major changes in the management and ethos of the Laboratory which provided the background and atmosphere in which the discovery was made. Watson and Crick were both theorists who relied heavily upon the results of crystallographers and physicists. Along the way, important unsung heroes will be celebrated, without whose endeavours the discovery would not have been made. The lecture will be profusely illustrated and presented at a non-technical level.

Professor Malcolm Longair, Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge

Malcolm Longair has held many highly respected positions within the fields of physics and astronomy. He was appointed the ninth Astronomer Royal of Scotland in 1980, as well as the Regius Professor of Astronomy, University of Edinburgh, and the director of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. He was head of the Cavendish Laboratory from 1997 to 2005. He has served on and chaired many international committees, boards and panels, working with both NASA and the European Space Agency. He has received much recognition for his work over the years, including a CBE in the millennium honours list for his services to astronomy and cosmology. He is the author of many books, including "Maxwell's Enduring Legacy: A Scientific History of the Cavendish Laboratory."

Attending lectures

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The lecture will be preceded by a short presentation from a CSAR PhD Student Award Winner.

Toddlers and robots? The ethics of AI for young children.

Dr. Nomisha Kurian, University of Cambridge Teaching Associate (Faculty of Education).

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