US-based author to reveal the man behind the discovery of DNA
9 March 2010
A leading US-based scholar will reveal the inner workings of the scientist largely responsible for discovering DNA - Francis Crick - when he speaks at the University of Sydney tonight.
Professor Robert Olby is a prominent historian of nineteenth and twentieth biology and is the author of Francis Crick: Hunter of Life's Secrets (Palgrave Macmillan). He is known for putting a human face and story to often complex scientific concepts.
In his Sydney Ideas lecture titled, "Francis Crick: Who was the Man Who Discovered DNA?" Professor Olby, from the University of Pittsburgh, will uncover the formative influences that shaped the doggedly determined personality of Crick as well as his career and scientific conquests - from his humble beginnings to his atheism, his stint in the Royal Navy to his later life as a Nobel Laureate.
He will discuss the of the British-born Crick's fascinating discovery - alongside James Watson - of the structure of DNA, arguably one of the most important scientific breakthroughs in history.
In 1962, Crick, Watson and Maurice Wilkins won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for "their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material." And according to French Nobel laureate, Jacques Monod, "No one man discovered or created molecular biology. But one man dominates intellectually the whole field, because he knows the most and understands the most. Francis Crick."
In his Sydney Ideas address, Professor Olby will also explore Crick's passion for neuroscience and his attempts to unravel the secrets of consciousness.
British-born Professor Robert Olby is currently Research Professor at the University of Pittsburgh USA, where he specialises in genetics and molecular biology. Educated at University College London and Oxford, he taught history of science at the University of Leeds from 1969 to 1993 before moving to the US. In addition to the Crick biography (using Crick's personal accounts, papers and interviews with family and friends to recreate Crick's extraordinary life), Olby is also the author of The Origins of Mendelism and The Path to the Double Helix. He is a member of the History of Science Society and the International Academy of the History of Science.
Robert Olby's visit to Australia is supported by the British High Commission, the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra, and RiAus, the Royal Institute of Australia. He will be speaking at the Australian Academy of Science in Canberra and the Royal Institute of Australia in Adelaide.
Professor Olby will be introduced to the Sydney Ideas stage by Professor Paul Griffiths. Professorial Research Fellow, the University of Sydney.
What: "Francis Crick: Who Was the Man Who Discovered DNA?" - Professor Robert Olby at Sydney Ideas, the University of Sydney's international public lecture series.
When: 6.30pm on Tuesday, 9 March, 2010
Where: Seymour Theatre Centre, Cnr of City Road and Cleveland Street, University of Sydney.
Cost: $20 adult/$15 concession. Free for University of Sydney staff and students (ID required.)
Bookings: Phone (02) 9351 7940 or book online here.
For further information go to the Sydney Ideas website here.
Media contact: Katrina O'Brien (02) 9036 7842 or email@example.com