The ornithologist--erstwhile ornithologist in college-- one James D. Watson, and the physicist, working in the admiralty during World War II, Francis Crick.
And Watson came over on a fellowship to the Medical Research Council labs in Cambridge, England, and was there to work on structures of things with Francis Crick, who knew a lot of crystallography, knew mathematics and crystallography.
And they were incredibly well known around the Medical Research Council because they talked a lot and did very little. They did a lot of talking. And they had big ideas about what they were going to do, including this DNA thing. They knew this was really important.
They weren't supposed to be working on DNA.
They were supposed to be working on something else. The distinguished head of the lab, Sir Lawrence Bragg, didn't want them working on DNA because King's College down in London was supposed to be doing the DNA stuff. But you know how kids are. They really wanted work on this DNA stuff. And they made some models. And they were kind of crazy models. And some of them were kind of embarrassing models in 1952 that they were making that anybody could have seen they had it wrong and so on. They began going down to King's College and talking to Rosalind Franklin, who was working on crystallizing and doing X-ray diffraction patterns on DNA, invited there by Maurice Wilkins.
The two of them didn't get along.
Rosalind didn't really have anybody to talk to about her stuff, and there was a bit of tension between them due to a bunch of misunderstandings. Crick and Watson came down and made a pain of themselves.
And they talked back and forth. And Rosalind Franklin hated all this abstract models stuff. She wanted hard data. Crick and Watson loved models. And you had this tension back and forth there.
Rosalind Franklin, at one point, was sure, based on her data from one form of DNA, that DNA was certainly not a helix, she even published a death announcement, a black-rimmed paper saying the death of the helix, saying that it certainly wasn't going to be a helix.
And it was back and forth.
And it was sort of comic.
At the beginning, in 1952, it had a feeling of Keystone Cops to it in a way.
And you've got to read Jim Watson's autobiography The Double Helix because he tells these stories."
7.00x Intro to Biology- The Secret of Life, Eric Lander PhD.