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DNA: the King's story
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DNA: the King's story

Maurice Wilkins, 1962Maurice Wilkins, 1962This exhibition is a celebration of the work of the King's men and women who helped crack the code of DNA. They include physicists, biologists, chemists and mathematicians.

To quote Francis Crick in 2001: "It is important to remember that all the really relevant experimental work on X-ray diffraction patterns of DNA fibres was done by Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins and their co-workers."

Rosalind FranklinRosalind FranklinThe exhibition demonstrates both the degree of precision needed and the interconnectivity of the sciences in reaching an understanding.

What follows are the earliest and key images of DNA taken at King’s, the equipment used and pictures of the people most involved.

The exhibition was first launched in 2003 to mark the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. This updated version includes previously unseen photographs and material catalogued as part of the current Wellcome Trust funded project, 'DNA and Social Responsibility'.  A related photostream of DNA and Social Responsibility images is also online now.

Since the exhibition first apeared, the catalogue to the Maurice Wilkins collection at King's College Archives has been completed and placed online as part of a project supported by the Wellcome Trust.

As well, a significant portion of the collection items are now available online in the Maurice Wilkins and Medical Research Council Biophysics Unit archive.  This is part of Codebreakers: Makers of Modern Genetics hosted by the Wellcome Library.

In preparing this exhibition and obtaining permission to use photographs, the staff of Archives at King’s College London would like to acknowledge the generous support of the family of Maurice Wilkins, Raymond Gosling, Churchill College Cambridge, Jennifer Glynn, Seweryn Chomet, the Nobel Foundation and the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge.

April 2007; revised April 2011


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