Wilkins , Maurice Hugh Frederick
(1916–) New Zealand–British biophysicist
Wilkins was born at Pongaroa in New Zealand. After graduating in physics from Cambridge University in England in 1938, he joined John Randall at Birmingham University to work on the improvement of radar screens. He received his PhD in 1940 for an electron-trap theory of phosphorescence and soon after went to the University of California, Berkeley, as one of the British team assigned to the Manhattan project and development of the atomic bomb. The results and implications of this work caused him to turn away from nuclear physics and in 1945 he began a career in biophysics, firstly at St. Andrews University, Scotland, and from 1946 at the Biophysics Research Unit, King's College, London.
The same year that Wilkins joined King's College, scientists at the Rockefeller Institute announced that genes consist of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Wilkins began studying DNA molecules by optical measurements and chanced to observe that the DNA fibers would be ideal material for x-ray diffraction studies. The diffraction patterns showed the DNA molecule to be very regular and have a double-helical structure. The contributions of Wilkins's colleague, Rosalind Franklin, were especially important in showing that the phosphate groups are located on the outside of the helix, so disproving Linus Pauling's theory of DNA structure.
Wilkins passed on his data to James Watson and Francis Crick in Cambridge who used it to help construct their famous molecular model of DNA. For their work in elucidating the structure of the hereditary material, Wilkins, Watson, and Crick were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine.
Wilkins went on to apply his techniques to finding the structure of ribonucleic acid (RNA). From 1955 he was deputy director of the Biophysics Research Unit and from 1963 he was professor at King's College, firstly of molecular biology and from 1970 of biophysics. He retired in 1981.

Scientists. . 2011.

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  • Wilkins,Maurice Hugh Frederick — Wilkins, Maurice Hugh Frederick. Born 1916. British biophysicist. He shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for advances in the study of DNA. * * * …   Universalium

  • Wilkins, Maurice Hugh Frederick — ▪ 2005       New Zealand born British biophysicist (b. Dec. 15, 1916, Pongaroa, N.Z. d. Oct. 5, 2004, London, Eng.), used X ray crystallography to investigate the DNA molecule and thereby contributed to the discovery of DNA s structure by James… …   Universalium

  • Wilkins, Maurice (Hugh Frederick) — born Dec. 15, 1916, Pongaroa, N.Z. died Oct. 6, 2004, London, Eng. New Zealand born British biophysicist. Educated in Birmingham and Cambridge, he participated in the Manhattan Project, working on the separation of uranium isotopes for use in the …   Universalium

  • Wilkins, Maurice (Hugh Frederick) — (15 dic. 1916, Pongaroa, Nueva Zelanda–5 oct. 2004, Londres, Inglaterra). Biofísico británico nacido en Nueva Zelanda. Estudió en Birmingham y Cambridge, participó en el proyecto Manhattan trabajando en la separación de los isótopos de uranio… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins — Maurice H.F. Wilkins Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins (* 15. Dezember 1916 in Pongaroa, Nord Wairarapa, Neuseeland; † 5. Oktober 2004 in London) war ein neuseeländischer Physiker und forschte vor allem im Bereich der Röntgenstrahlung. Im Alter von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins — Maurice Wilkins Pour les articles homonymes, voir Wilkins. Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins (15 décembre 1916 5 octobre 2004) est un physicien britannique d origine néo zélandaise principalement connu pour ses travaux sur les… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins — noun English biochemist who helped discover the structure of DNA (1916 2004) • Syn: ↑Wilkins, ↑Maurice Wilkins • Instance Hypernyms: ↑biochemist …   Useful english dictionary

  • Medizinnobelpreis 1962: Francis Harry Compton Crick — James Dewey Watson — Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins —   Die drei Forscher erhielten den Nobelpreis für ihre Entdeckungen über die Molekularstruktur der Nucleinsäuren und deren Bedeutung für die Informationsübertragung in lebender Materie.    Biografien   Francis Harry Compton Crick, * Northampton… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Wilkins, Maurice — ▪ British biophysicist in full  Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins   born December 15, 1916, Pongaroa, New Zealand died October 6, 2004, London, England       New Zealand born British biophysicist whose X ray (X ray diffraction) diffraction studies… …   Universalium

  • Wilkins — Maurice Hugh Frederick …   Scientists

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