King's College London
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DNA: the King's story

King's work begins

King's College LondonKing's College LondonIn 1946, John T Randall, who had trained under the great Nobel-Prize winning physicist, William Lawrence Bragg, was appointed Head of Physics at King’s College London.

The study of physics at King’s has a long and distinguished pedigree numbering several Nobel Prize winners including Charles Barkla, Sir Owen Richardson and Sir Edward Appleton for important work on x-rays, thermionics and atmospheric physics.

During the nineteenth century, notables included the famous physicist James Clerk Maxwell, who undertook groundbreaking research on thermodynamics, and Charles Wheatstone, who pioneered the development of the telegraph and stereoscopy, and who was commemorated in the research laboratories that bore his name.

Randall turned a large section of the Physics Department over to the study of biological problems.

Building the Quad labs at King'sBuilding the Quad labs at King'sHe was something of a war hero having invented the cavity magnetron with HAH Boot, which helped transform the performance of radar and assisted night bombing and in hunting submarines.

Maurice Wilkins, a physicist who previously had worked on the atom bomb with the Manhattan project in Berkeley, California, soon joined Randall at King’s.

He took over ultraviolet microscope studies of the quantities of nucleic acids in cells that Capersson and J Brachet’s published work of 1941–1942 had shown to be important in protein synthesis.

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