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DNA Pioneer Francis Crick Passes Away

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the double-helix-discoverers dept.

Biotech 247

Neil Halelamien writes "Francis Crick, who discovered the structure of DNA with James Watson, Rosalind Franklin, and Maurice Wilkins, passed away Wednesday in San Diego. His co-discovery of 'the secret of life' made him one of the most influential scientists of all time. In more recent years, he shifted his research efforts from molecular biology to neuroscience, with a particular interest in the question of the neural basis of consciousness."

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247 comments

patentable ? (0, Troll)

Sad Loser (625938) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838316)


  1. 1. Please don't say 'passed away'. We're not in first grade. he has died. (cue parrot jokes)
  2. 2. If Crick et al had been made their discovery today, could they have patented it?
    or could you only patent the technology used to make the discovery?

Re:patentable ? (1)

mike260 (224212) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838359)

2. If Crick et al had been made their discovery today, could they have patented it?
or could you only patent the technology used to make the discovery?


Patent #29381823: Method for discovering the helical structure of DNA using wire coat-hangers and pingpong balls.

Not sure about that one.

Re:patentable ? (2, Informative)

adam mcmaster (697132) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838362)

I'm not a lawyer, but I'm pretty sure the discovery itself could not be patented. They could probably only patent the technology they used to make the discovery and any technology they developed using the discovery. Though I could be completely wrong...

Re:patentable ? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838376)

You sir, are both insensitive, and a clod.

It would be sincerely appreciated if you would leave the rest of us to our grief.

Thank you.

Re:patentable ? (1)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838444)

How are an opinion and question, both right on topic, off topic? What, you disagree? Stupid mods, wake up!

(about fed up with /.)

Re:patentable ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838516)

(about fed up with /.)

then go away

Re:patentable ? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838594)

Maybe because there isn't a "-1 insensitive clod" moderation?

Re:patentable ? (1)

Patrik_AKA_RedX (624423) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838468)

We're not in first grade.
After reading the same jokes over and over and over again here, I have real doubts about that statement.

Re:patentable ? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838472)

'Passed away' is polite.

Could also say
passed on
shuffled off
kicked the bucket
Tits up
Kicking back on the slab
'Y' cut candidate
DNdead
DOA
Crick run dry
and so on.

Grab some politness

Re:patentable ? (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838570)

I have to say that I would probably ruin my monitor and keyboard with coffee spewing from my nose if I read "Today, DNA pioneer Francis Crick went tits up."

Even on slashdot. But if it was CNN I would probably pass out (or board the rofl-copter, as my friend says).

rofl-copter? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838616)

Does your friend also tell you how things are "fabulous", call everyone "darling", and also have an over-fastidious sense of fashion and have lots of photos of half-naked men on his coffee-table...or is she still in jr high school?

Re:patentable ? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838688)

that why I should write headline.
They would piss a lot of people off, anf the reast of the people whould luagh there ass off.
And they would get readers.

Re:patentable ? (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838648)

worm food doing the dirt dance deep sixed gone to the great beyond knocking on Heavens door passing the Gates of Hell ..and so on..Johnny Carson (remember him.he did the Tonight show BEFORE Jay Leno) had a great skit on this about a Dead Parrot (a poke at Monthy Phython Parrot Jokes..

Re:patentable ? (1)

LiquidMind (150126) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838733)

i don't have anything better than a simpsons quote, but hey, at least i try...

Tony: Sorry we're late. Could we have the money now?
Marge: The answer -- is no.
Tony: I'm afraid I must insist. You see, my wife, she has been most vocal on the subject of the pretzel monies. "Where's the money?" "When are you going to get the money?" "Why aren't you getting the money now?" And so on.

alright, so this quote is only applicable to the parent's last few words...but oh well.

Re:patentable ? (2, Interesting)

Lifix (791281) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838491)

In terms of making the discovery, Rosalind Franklin took pictures of the structure of DNA, Watson and Crick just looked at the pictures and deduced the structure. So I guess you could patent the picture taking process. Toodles.

Re:patentable ? (3, Insightful)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838678)

1. Please don't say 'passed away'. We're not in first grade. he has died

We might say (and I mean this with all due respect, Francis Crick was truly a great man to whom we owe much) with only a little poetic license, that the chemicals which constituted Francis Crick, even as we mourn the end of his life, are -- every adenine, cytosine, guanine, and thymine --, losing that central helical organization that made out of those disparate chemicals, the man Francis Crick.

We will also think of his wife, the artist Odile Speed, and his three children -- each of whom perpetuates one-half of Francis Cricks's genome -- and his four grandchildren -- each of whom perpetuates one quarter of that genome.

(And of course, I gave Francis Crick the traditional Slashdot salute here [slashdot.org] .)

Re:patentable ? (3, Informative)

Curtman (556920) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838698)

There is a really awesome PBS documentary about the beginnings of our knowledge of DNA. I very highly recommend it to anyone with even the slightest of interest.

I can't seem to find it on PBS' page, (perhaps a better title than 'DNA' would have helped) but here is an MSNBC article [msn.com] about the series. It's 5 hour long episodes that covers the race to discover what DNA looked like all, the mapping of the human genome, and some really intersting discussions about the ethics of patenting DNA.

P.S. It's available on eDonkey if you can't find it on PBS' page to buy a copy either. Errr did I just say that?

Question. (-1, Flamebait)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838327)

Will the knowlegde of DNA increase the lifespan a the average DNA researcher.

Not gone for long. (3, Funny)

kjeldor (146944) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838329)

Don't worry, he'll be back.

In clone form.

Re:Not gone for long. (0)

Z-95 (801437) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838409)

We have the technology. We can rebuild him.

Wow. Didn't see THAT one coming (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838342)

Guess you really can't depend on netcraft's comfirmation after all.

Oh well, back to watching for running rats.

at least (5, Interesting)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838351)

At least he got to see the human genome decoded before he died. That's gotta feel pretty good.

Re:at least (3, Funny)

owlstead (636356) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838377)

Currently he probably doesn't.

Re:at least (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838546)

So what? All this DNA stuff is just a theory. The Bible shows us via intelligent design that we don't any of this chemical nonsense - how can a bunch of molecules code for life! LOL - God can be replaced by a chemistry set!

Re:at least (1)

RWerp (798951) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838753)

Yep, a theory you can extract out of organic tissue in a school lab.

Re:at least (-1, Troll)

BlueJay465 (216717) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838783)

Give God a little more credit than that. He's got a universal chemestry set (quite simply, it's more uber than yours). And he knows a LOT more about the Human Genome, Alien Genome and other such "chemical nonsense" than you do. How do you think we got here and were made. Do you really think Watson, Crick et al figured it all out on their own, and weren't gently steered in the right direction?

Knowledge == Power
Omniscient == Omnipotent

Quit trolling and go back to Sunday-School.

Re:at least (1)

dekeji (784080) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838737)

It's not a given that he favored the project in the way in which it was carried out.. Does anybody know what his actual position was?

What I want to know is... (2, Interesting)

cephyn (461066) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838353)

Did he use his own, or watson's, DNA under the microscope to make the discovery?

Watson! Come here! I want you! (4, Funny)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838390)

It was Crick's. Indeed, Watson didn't even know what Crick was up to in the next room. Suddenly a voice from nowhere rang out: "Watson! Come here! I want you!" After that, there was no looking back. A new era of technology was ushered in.

Didn't you learn this story in elementary school?

GMD

Re:Watson! Come here! I want you! (1)

cephyn (461066) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838430)

No. My elementary school wasn't big on science, its a miracle I'm the science nerd that I am today!

I bring it up because in the thread about the Genome guy, he was being criticized for using his own DNA.

Re:Watson! Come here! I want you! (1)

holnet (718265) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838557)

No, it's a joke. Google the quote and all will be revealed. (Just didn't want you to go on believing that quote had anything to do with DNA research...) Google, you truly are too good for this world.

Re:Watson! Come here! I want you! (1)

Jim Starx (752545) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838708)

Why would the choice of DNA matter?

Re:Watson! Come here! I want you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838478)

Um, isn't that the story of Alexander Graham Bell and the invention of the telephone?

Re:Watson! Come here! I want you! (2, Funny)

MisterFancypants (615129) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838501)

Watson! Come here!

I always kinda assumed they were using a cheek swab to get the samples. Guess I was wrong.

In either case, its pretty funny that the parent is marked Informative when its either a troll (more likely) or just plain wrong.

Re:Watson! Come here! I want you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838591)

Umm, what were the first words (supposedly) uttered over the telephone? "Watson, I want you."??

Oh. The grandparent was funny. You are dumb.

Re:Watson! Come here! I want you! (1)

MisterFancypants (615129) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838672)

The grandparent was funny. You are dumb.

I'm rubber, you're glue. BITCH!

Re:What I want to know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838441)

Did he use his own, or watson's, DNA under the microscope to make the discovery?

Actually, it was a mixture of both.

Eeeewwweeegghhh.

Re:What I want to know is... (5, Informative)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838464)

My understanding is that they didn't use any of their own raw data, but the data from Rosalind Franklin [wikipedia.org] . More info [wikipedia.org] .

Don't Forget Chargaff. (1)

fantastic max (690355) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838585)

Franklin's crystal revealed the ultimate helical nature of DNA. But the double stranded bit was based on the Chargaff rules [columbia.edu] .

no microscope (2, Informative)

phyruxus (72649) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838481)

Whoa whoa whoa...

Watson and Crick didn't use a microscope. Watson and Crick were (iirc) chemists who built models of molecules and tried to create a model that represented a chemical which had the properties of observed dna. When they did their work microscopes capable of looking at molecules up close and personal did not exist. X-ray crystalography was as close as it got. There was some lady in Britain who was working on the DNA problem at the same time, who (in some people's opinion, including mine, no disrespect to the honored dead) did most of the important work. Watson and Crick were close, but they put it all together after meeting with the a researcher in the same university department who shared the contents of her work. All of which makes me wish I could remember her name.

It was on PBS a couple months ago. Good documentary. Crick was reclusive but was interviewed for the occasion; he seemed very genuine and very very smart. Let's all think good thoughts about him or, failing that, drink a beer to his name.

Neither (2, Interesting)

bstadil (7110) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838488)

They were playing with wooden balls that they had gotten made by the folks at Cavendish.

Crick didn't even know what Watson was doing the night that he made the mock-up. As an interesting note there was a bit of slack in the way the wooden "lego" was made that allowed the correct answer to emerge despite a slight flaw in the idea.

Lastly I think your joke was refering to Craig Venter [cnn.com] that used his own DNA at Celera, Right?. I have a lot of respect for Venter despite his slight Megalomaniac tendencies.

Re:Neither (1)

cephyn (461066) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838509)

yeah i got involved in a little bruhaha in the other thread about him (venter) using his own dna. I didn't see anything wrong with it, but I guess I'm in the minority. I got threadjumped and no one seemed to take my side! so be it. He is a bit of an egomaniac but that doesnt mean he has bad science.

Re:What I want to know is... (4, Informative)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838521)

Well this is DNA, so there's no optical microscope involved.

Rosalind Franklin used X-rays [sdsc.edu] to clarify DNA's structure. Her research was then shown to Crick and Watson without her knowledge, and the two men were then able to decypher the structure of DNA.

They got the Nobel Prize for their discovery. She wasn't included in the prize, even though she was critical in the discovery of the molecule's structure.

Yeah! The Nobel Commitee is Corpsist! (5, Informative)

Jonathan (5011) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838549)

They got the Nobel Prize for their discovery. She wasn't included in the prize, even though she was critical in the discovery of the molecule's structure.


Only living people can get the Nobel, and by the time of the prize, Rosie had died of cancer. There's no conspiracy.

Re:What I want to know is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838586)

She was dead at the time that the prize was awarded, in 1962. Nobel Prizes are not awarded posthumously, so including her was not an option.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

sp0rk173 (609022) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838734)

Except, of course, the Nobel Prize awarded to Franklin Groichlund in 1962, 10 years after his death.

Re:What I want to know is... (1)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838675)

Huh? The article that you cite undermines the last line of your post . . .

From your post: They got the Nobel Prize for their discovery. She wasn't included in the prize, even though she was critical in the discovery of the molecule's structure.

From the article [sdsc.edu] A debate about the amount of credit due to Franklin continues. What is clear is that she did have a meaningful role in learning the structure of DNA and that she was a scientist of the first rank.

The article you cite says that there is debate about the amount of credit that Franklin is due. It say that her role is clearly "meaningful" but in your post you say that she was "critical in the discovery of the molecule's sturcture."

Either the citation isn't the best, or it may have been "stretched" in the post? Either way, a reader of the linked article would have difficulty with the strong language in the post.

He was also a proponent of directed panspermia... (3, Interesting)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838356)

...that is, life arriving at earth via DNA sent out from aliens.

More on that theory in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] . Interesting stuff!

Re:He was also a proponent of directed panspermia. (1, Funny)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838439)

Directed Panspermia?

This sounds like a low budget Japanese film.

Good riddens (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838358)

I saw that PBS show on this - the fact the guy stole the idea with his buddy makes me sick. What is worse is these two recieved the noble prize. It seriously encourage me to steal anothers idea and master it so I can reep the benefits!!!

Re:Good riddens (3, Interesting)

jomas1 (696853) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838378)

Take a look at this link for some of what the parent is talking about:

http://www.ba-education.demon.co.uk/for/science/dn a.html [demon.co.uk]

Re:Good riddens (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838413)

awesome. They say the fact it was a woman was the main purpose behind the theft. I have my doubts. I say it was because this guy was a worm.

Sorry to stay anonymous - forgot my password and login

Re:Good riddens (3, Insightful)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838580)

The link [demon.co.uk] doesn't seem to say much except that:

Science is a competitive field

The person that publishes first wins

Perhaps Watson and Crick's citation list was rather lite

I don't understand what the big deal is . . . this is science . . . Scientists at the top of their field are egotistical and competitive just like the people in most other careers.

Just because someone else sat in the lab and ran the experiments doesn't mean that conclusions drawn by others based on the same dataset should be credited to the original person that ran the experiments. I think that credit should be given to Watson and Crick for putting together lots of other pieces of knowledge and drawing a conclusion that fits all the data from all the sources in question. That's not stealing, that's not cheating . . . that's just good science.

Re:Good riddens (1)

adam mcmaster (697132) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838406)

Would you care to provide links to information on this? Or are you just flamebaiting?

MOD PARENT UNDERRATED (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838407)

The parent poster may have written childishly but the meat of what he is saying is not wrong

HOPE IS ON THE WAY!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838370)

Gentoo Linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838374)

"Gentoo Linux uses an enhanced BSD ports-style package system. You'll want to consult Gentoo's web site or the forums here before doing an install. This distro isn't designed for ease-of-install or simplicity, but it does allow a great deal of flexibility in both installation and maintenance.

A minimal install disk gives you just enough to start a system install and download the rest from the Internet. Other disks contain pre-compiled packages to save download and compile times - some of them more generic for a platform (GRP builds), others compiled specifically for various architectures. There are more package disks on the ftp mirrors than we list here."

There, I said something about Linux. Now give my fucking karma, you fat fucking Linux-loving bottom feeders.

Crick Croaked (0)

sciop101 (583286) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838375)

Semantics should have stayed on the reservation making blankets and beads.

Implications (1)

DocMax (789664) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838386)

With one half of Watson & Crick gone, I'm pretty sure that we have to turn in one of our DNA helices. It's single helix time now...

Re:Implications (1)

SimonInOz (579741) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838691)

You are definitely twisted.

I would like to take this moment... (5, Informative)

CSharpMinor (610476) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838414)

I would like to take this moment to recommend Francis Crick's The Astonishing Hypothesis [amazon.com] to anyone interested in cognitive science. Although the theory of consciousness he espouses is somewhat uninteresting, the book does provide a good overview of the mechanisms by which the human brain functions, and it also describes the field of Cog Sci to some depth.

Too bad he wasn't gracious enough (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838416)

...to give Rosalind Franklin [accessexcellence.org] appropriate credit.

dna pioneer (1)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838417)

who do i turn to now when my dna breaks?

For all the bruthas who ain't here... (5, Funny)

Building (6295) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838420)

I rebooted a work machine that was named crick, after I heard. I figure that's like pouring a forty out on the pavement, right?

(also it needed a kernel update)

Sort of. (5, Funny)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838482)

Sort of. I squirted 70% ethanol on the lab floor.

my homage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838717)

I squirted some of my own DNA..., ah, nevermind.

(it was a tear!! It's not what you're thinking!!)

Re:For all the bruthas who ain't here... (1)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838769)

Watson, theres a Crick in my DNA!

But Barbara McClintock did all the work!!!! (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838422)

Shee-it even in death Crick gets credit for someone else's work. Goddamn.

Re:But Barbara McClintock did all the work!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838497)

What does Barbara McClintock have to do with the structure of DNA? Are you referring to Rosalind Franklin, whose X-ray crystallography was the basis of the helical idea? McClintock was opposed by Watson or Crick (don't recall which), for her discovery of transposable elements. The idea somewhat bypassed the central dogma of molecular biology, but has nothing to do with the structure of DNA. I really can't fathom how most of these posts have been moderated as interesting or informative when many of them don't even make any sense!

Re:But Barbara McClintock did all the work!!!! (1)

figleaf (672550) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838502)

It was Rosalind Franklin whose work was used arrive at the final DNA structure.
I still think Crick and Watson deserve the credit for arriving at the final conclusion

Re:But Barbara McClintock did all the work!!!! (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838600)

Wow..someone on /. has read enough to know the details on the discovery of DNA (and I assume watched the PBS series on Same). She was a pioneer in X-ray crystallography and when she saw the pattern she knew it was a double helix. In fact she point out to Crick his "tinker-toy" model was inside out and would never work. They dissed her ideas as she was female in the day when science was a male profession. Eventually W&C came to the same conclusions about structure but they said they came upon it "independantly". She published her ideas in her work papers and to some extent she was allowed in the literature. IIRC she died of cancer, most likely from exposure to the X-rays in her lab as precautions in those days were slim to none.

Re:But Barbara McClintock did all the work!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838623)

Barbara McClintock got an unshared Nobel Prize [nobel.se] for her work in genetics, but it wasn't for the structure of DNA itself.

Slashdot racist (-1, Troll)

sinnfeiner1916 (793749) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838427)

i submitted this this morning. I also submitted about "Scotty" having Alzheimer's a couple of weeks ago. Rejected. Bah. Fuck you Rob Malda!! I'll 0wnz0r your m0m bitch!

Re:Slashdot racist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838582)

Amen to that, buddy, amen!

CLONE HIM (0, Redundant)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838457)

It would be the only fitting tribute.

LK

Standing on the shoulders of Giants . . . (1)

StateOfTheUnion (762194) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838461)

The double helix structure of DNA . . . first published in 1953 won the Nobel Prize in 1962 . . . And the echos of this discovery are still being felt today.

Perhaps this discovery is the discovery of "smallpox vaccine" or the "Laws of Motion" of genetic engineering . . . each of these discoveries, profound and novel as a standalone discovery, enabled and launched an entirely new series of scientific research and discoveries over a period of hundreds of years.

300 years from now, we might say the same about Watson and Crick's discovery as we do about the discoveries of Copernicus, Newton, or Galileo.

The Dark Lady of DNA (4, Informative)

Mad Martigan (166976) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838475)

I know that this article is about the passing of Crick, but it's nice to hear Rosalind Franklin recognized for her significant role in the discovery of the structure of DNA. Certinaly, Watson and Crick did a lot of work ... but they get a lot of credit too, including a nobel prize. Franklin didn't even get credit at the time of discovery because her photographs had been shown to Watson without her knowledge and they (Watson, Crick, and Wilkins) rushed their article to publication.

Later on, more people learned of her contributions, but, sadly, she passed away in 1958 and was therefore ineligible for the 1962 Nobel prize that Watson, Crick, and Wilkonson shared. Without her name on the landmark publication or a Nobel prize, she has been largely forgotten.

To read more about her story, you should check out the book The Dark Lady of DNA [amazon.com] .

Re:The Dark Lady of DNA (3, Informative)

erikharrison (633719) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838604)

Here, here!



Also, to clarify some other posts, Barbara McClintock, while a brilliant scientist who did some facintating genetic work (transposons being the most famous, but her work on crossing over also worth a look), was not the unsung female hero of the double helix. Unlike Franklin, who did get shafted, McClintock won the Noble Prize in 1983, just like she deserved. I am astounded how many people get righteous about the Rosalind Franklin, but use McClintock's name. Sad really, that she had so little hold that even her champions have forgotten her name.

Re:The Dark Lady of DNA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838605)

yeah, well apparently she sat on the data for like 10 years and wouldn't share it with anyone. watson and crick were always criticized for swiping the data, but hey...you cant stop science...

Re:The Dark Lady of DNA (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838639)

nor should she.
SHe should get the highest accolades for her pioneering work with XRays

Regardless of his stealing of ideas..... (1)

DWXXV (784152) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838495)

He did help advance science even if for no other reason then they would listen to him and his partner more. On another note does anyone here have a teacher the should tell this? I might have gotten some extra credit points in Bio if this happened over the course of the school year. Oh dear I think I am trying to profit from a dead man. >_

Watson's been busy too.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838498)

"...In more recent years, he shifted his research efforts from molecular biology to neuroscience, with a particular interest in the question of the neural basis of consciousness."

Meanwhile Watson's concluded fat bald dark people have great sex. Oh how the mighty have fallen...

http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file= /n m/journal/v7/n2/full/nm0201_137b.html
(registrati on required)

wtf (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838499)

Francis Crick Dies || Thursday July 29, @ 01:30PM || Rejected =/

Nueron theory is consciousness is nice, but... (2, Interesting)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838508)

I have the itchy feeling that that's too low a level to be looking for the basic building blocks of consciousness. As a metaphor, look at the circulatory system. Our basic units for desribing its functions are the heart with its chambers, and veins, etc. We don't really need to get to the cellular level to get the gist of it.

It seems to me, and this is totally a gut feeling, that the basic 'units of consciousness' will be in nueral superstructers. I'm actually a supporter of a top down approach -- trying to tear apart things that are apparent to us in our consciousness --Woah! How about getting a definition of consciousness first -- and then trying to find what neurons are responsible for them. We're had more success this way -- finding which parts of the brain light up when we use language, recognize faces, solve math problems, etc.

Furthermore, all the models of nuerons thinking use them as logic gates. That seems to imply to me that some consciousness researchers think the brain is a huge Turing machine -- again, this doesn't seem right to me, because Goedel's Theorem, as I understand, shows there are things a Turing machine can't compute. And if humans can understand Goedel's theorem, we must have something qualitatively different than a Turing machine up there.

Re:Nueron theory is consciousness is nice, but... (2, Informative)

rjpcal (609641) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838763)

How about getting a definition of consciousness first -- and then trying to find what neurons are responsible for them.
This is one of the issues that Crick and Koch are always quick to address both in writing and in public talks. E.g. from http://www.klab.caltech.edu/~koch/crick-koch-cc-97 .html [caltech.edu] :
(1) Everyone has a rough idea of what is meant by being conscious. For now, it is better to avoid a precise definition of consciousness because of the dangers of premature definition. Until the problem is understood much better, any attempt at a formal definition is likely to be either misleading or overly restrictive, or both. If this seems evasive, try defining the word "gene." So much is now known about genes that any simple definition is likely to be inadequate. How much more difficult, then, to define a biological term when rather little is known about it.
Disclaimer: I work in the Caltech lab of Christof Koch, who has been Francis Crick's primary collaborator in the neuroscientific study of consciousness.

Insenstivie Sods (1)

Enaku (801081) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838511)

Have we heard at least one, RIP Francis> , or He was a good contributer to science and the greater good or at least something that represents what a fufilling life he lived, or the goals he set that, at the time were seemingly impossible, achieved? You people are cold and heartless. Oh, and to keep myself from hipocracy, It's implied that I have said the aforementioned comments in a kind and sympathetic matter. =D

What is life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838533)

Would a good definition of life be anything that has cells (having the ability to reproduce themselves)?

Yesterday? (1, Troll)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838538)

Apparently Nerds don't mind their "News" a day late.

Re:Yesterday? (1)

Enaku (801081) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838551)

Are you a nerd? And, just asking, of which magical source did you get this from hrm?

Re:Yesterday? (1)

Wild Bill TX (787533) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838690)

And, just asking, of which magical source did you get this from hrm?

I'm not sure if it was there yesterday, but the news was on Wikipedia's main page [wikipedia.org] . I noticed a few hours ago.

pint in the Eagle,,, (1)

johnjones (14274) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838601)

I will in honer have a pint in the eagle

and thank you to all the people that worked on the Xray labs that made this discovery possible

regards

John Jones

Re:pint in the Eagle,,, (1)

G-funk (22712) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838762)

I will in honer have a pint in the eagle

Huh? sounds like you've already had half a dozen ;-)

Re:pint in the Eagle,,, (1)

Enaku (801081) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838789)

Half a dozen what? Red cordials =D

GNAA Pioneer Francis Prick Passes Away (0, Troll)

i_hate_exnihilo (799826) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838659)

GNAA is sad to announce the passing of a great man, Francis Prick. Francis was a pioneer in cock-sucksing, as well as one of the first to jerk off to a goatse pic.

Francis will be missed by all.

Re:GNAA Pioneer Francis Prick Passes Away (-1, Flamebait)

Enaku (801081) | more than 9 years ago | (#9838732)

Childish Git. You know how stupid that is. Grow up, then post on /.

We'll have no more of that - God (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838694)

His co-discovery of 'the secret of life' made him one of the most influential scientists of all time. In more recent years, he shifted his research efforts from molecular biology to neuroscience, with a particular interest in the question of the neural basis of consciousness.

In the middle of the 20th century:

Crick: We've done it! We've figured out how life's essence can be boiled down to simple chemical reactions!

God: Aw, crap. Didn't mean for them to figure that out.

Fast forward to the present day:

Crick: That's it! It's so simple, how could I have missed it before! I've figured out how the soul's essence can be boiled down to simple neural combinations!

God: Alright, boy, you've gone far enough. [Flips switch]

Crick: Aaaah! [Hits floor]

Re:We'll have no more of that - God (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838770)

rofl, You hit the nail on the hammer.

Truly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9838749)

Truly an American Icon
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