He is most noted for being one of two co-discoverers of the double helix structure of the DNA molecule in 1953, together with James D. Watson. He also played a crucial role in research related to revealing the genetic code.
At Cambridge, he met an American named James Watson, and together with their colleague Maurice Wilkins, they tried to elucidate the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).
In their investigations they based on Crick's theories, Watson brought knowledge of phage and X-ray diffraction studies prepared by Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin and Erwin Chargaff (1950) conclusions that that DNA contains equal amounts of four nitrogenous bases - adenine, thymine, guanine and cytosine.
In 1953, these two distinct backgrounds uncovered the DNA were structured like two twisting, spiral ladders: now-famous double-helix model.
Crick and Watson first published one of their four papers about this discovery in the April 25 1953 edition of the journal Nature.
Francis Crick, James D. Watson and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
After his discovery of the double helix, Crick went to work on finding the relationship between DNA and genetic coding. Crick disclose the nature of the genetic code. The code defines a mapping between tri-nucleotide sequences, called codons, and amino acids. The three nitrogen bases (triplet) coding for one amino acids.
Thus he predicted the mechanism for protein synthesis. The parent DNA molecule unzips exposing the two halves of the DNA molecule. Each half of the parent DNA molecule serves as a template, matrix for the newly generated double strands.
Thus each nitrogen bases adenine (A), thymine (T), cytosine (C), and guanine (G), matching up with their complementary strictly defined bases.
Crick is widely known for use of the term “central dogma” to summarise an idea that genetic information flow in cells is essentially one-way, from DNA to RNA to protein.
Later Crick was interested in two fundamental unsolved problems of biology.
First, how molecules make the transition from the non-living to the living, and second, how the brain makes a conscious mind.
His theories of the nature of consciousness and the origin of life have had considerable influence on all workers in those fields.
Work on an advanced degree at University was interrupted by service in World War II. From 1940 to 1947 he served as a scientist in the admiralty, where he designed circuitry for naval mines.
After service in World War II, in 1947 Crick became a PhD student and Honorary Fellow of Caius College and worked at the Cambridge Medical Research Council Unit on the use of X-ray crystal diffraction to determine the spatial structure of large biological molecules.
In this time CRICK was influenced by Erwin Schrödinger's ideas outlined in his book “What is Life?”(1944), that he switched from physics to biology.
In 1949 Francis Crick moved to the famous Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge, where he began to study the molecular structure of proteins.
Francis Crick was 35 when he began working with fellow scientist James Watson, then a young man of 23, to discover the makeup of DNA, the genetic code of life.
After 1976 he worked at the Salk Institute, San Diego, where he served as president from 1994 to 1995. At the Salk Institute, in collaboration with Christof Koch, he studies the neural correlates of conscious visual experience, seeking to understand how neuron firing patterns correspond to the conscious experience of seeing.
At an early age, Francis was attracted to science and what he could learn about it from books.
For the first time Crick married the Ruth Doreen Crick, née Dodd (1913 - 2011), in 1940. They had one son Michael Francis Compton (b. 25 November 1940), and they were divorced in 1947. Later he married the former Odile Crick, née Speed (1920 - 2007) in 1949. They had two douhters: Gabrielle Anne (b. 15 July 1951) and Jacqueline Marie-Therese (later Nichols) (12 March 1954 -28 February 2011) and and they remained married until Crick's death in 2004.
Crick died of colon cancer on 28 July 2004 at the age of 88 at the Thornton Hospital in La Jolla, San Diego, California.
Remains: He was cremated and his ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.