10 Facts about Maurice Wilkins

Post On: December 14, 2017
By: Andi

Facts about Maurice Wilkins describe about widely well-known british physicist. Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins or people called him Maurice Wilkins gave a great contribution  to the scientific understanding of phosphorescence, isotope separation, optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction and to the development of radar. Amazingly, he was best known for his work at King’s College London on the structure of DNA. Here are the more interesting facts about him.

Facts about Maurice Wilkins 1: Early Life

Wilkins was born on December 15, 1916 in Pongaroa, now Tararua District, New Zealand.

Facts about Maurice Wilkins 2: Wilkins’s Family

Wilkins born from a educated family. His father, Edgar Henry Wilkins, was a medical doctor. His paternal and maternal grandfathers were, respectively, a Headmaster of Dublin High School and a Chief of Police. At the age of 6, his family moved to Birmingham, England.

Facts about Maurice Wilkins

Facts about Maurice Wilkins 3: Educational Background

Wilkins attended to St Jhon’s College, Cambridge in 1935. He decided to study about Natural Sciences Tripos specialising in Physics, then got Bachelor of Art degree. In several years later, Wilkins continued his study at the University of Birmingham for Ph.D programme, and he finished his PhD in 1940.

Facts about Maurice Wilkins 4: Career and Research on Post Second War Years

Wilkins improve radar screen at Birmingham during World War II, then in 1944-1945 he did a project on Isotope Separation at the University of California, Berkeley. At the same of year, Wilkins was appointed as assistant lecturer at the University of St Andrews. Later, John Randall, the chair of Physics at the University of St Andrews, appointed Wilkins to assist some ultimate research projects.

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Facts about Maurice Wilkins 5: The First Phase of DNA

At King’s College, Wilkins conducted research among X-ray diffraction work on ram sperm and DNA which had been obtained from calf thymus by the Swiss scientist, Rudolf Signer. The DNA from Signer’s lab was much more intact than before. Later, Wilkins and a graduate student, Raymon Gosling, conducted intesive research to discover X-ray diffraction patterns. Then, the initial X-ray diffraction was done around May or June in 1950 at King’s College.

Facts about Maurice Wilkins 6: Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin, eventually, became Wilkins partner and they would work together on the DNA project that he had started.

Wilkins’s Plaque

Facts about Maurice Wilkins 7: DNA Phase Two

DNA phase two occured during 1951-1952. Wilkins started a series of experiments on sepia sperm and he got much clearer pattern than the previous. In the beginning 1953, Watson arrived to King’s College and Wilkins Showed him a high quality image of the B-form X-ray diffraction pattern. In Arpil 1953, Watson and Crick published their proposed DNA double helical structure and they acknowledged that they had been stimulated by the unpublished results and ideas of Wilkins and Franklin.

Facts about Maurice Wilkins 8: Post 1953

He appointed to be a depputy director of the MRC Biophysics Unit at King’s College in 1955.

Facts about Maurice Wilkins 9: Awards and Honours

Wilkins had won some awards and honours during his life, such as Fellow of the Royal Society in 1959, and also Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962.

Wilkins’s Monument in New Zealand

Facts about Maurice Wilkins 10: Wilkin’s Life

He married with Ruth, an art student, they met in Berkeley then divorce. In 1959, Wilkins married his second wife, Patricia Ann Chidgey. They had four children namely, Sarah, George, Emily, and William.


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