Messages to Francis

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From letters sent to the eminent molecular biologist Francis Crick between 1987 and 2003:

Dear Francis, wen I am olda, I wood lik to be a brilliant scientistt like you. Did you always want to be a scientist? Is it a good job being a scientist? Wot advice wood you give me to be a good scientist? It has been lovely riting to you Francis. Lots of love xxxxxxx

In a single sentence how would you sum up the significance of the understanding of DNA?

I know you are a very busy man but it would be greatful to me if you would answer these questions. 1. Would you be my pen pal?

I thought you might be interested in going into the training business with me. I think I figured out how to help develop genius, but I’m not all the way there yet. Writing to you seemed like a shortcut to avoid a lot of hassle

2. How was your friendship with Rosalind Franklin?

I agree with Panspermia – the hypothesis in which you suggest that the earth was seeded by life from another planet. The Word came down to this planet and breathed life into the forms that the Word had designed

What is your opinion on a notion as free-spirited and defiant in practical thinking (and potentially unravelling) as love?

3. How did it feel to stand before the king of Sweden?


Dear Ms. Crick: The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is seeking individuals as candidates for appointment to the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines (ACCV). You are invited to recommend candidates

4. Were you best friends with James D. Watson?

Atlanta had a particularly intense blooming season this spring, and as I began to feel manic I resumed taking the maximum dosage. Due to a tragic oversight, and my own growing loss of control, I ran out of Lithium on April 20th. I took the ultimate manic trip (got to be God, and by the way, it was fun!)

I am a student in Knoxville, Tennessee. I wanted to let you know that our class prayed for you today. May God bless and protect your family

In the beginning was the Word. Through him all things were made. In him was life. Call it A C G T if you will

You were lucky, my mom would never let me blow up anythink

An ancient Chinese poem written more than two thousand years ago adequately expressed my admiration for you: “Behold a high mountain with awe, and look up to it with esteem. Although I cannot make the journey, my heart is there with you”

Helen Wakely

Helen Wakely is Archives Project Manager at the Wellcome Library.

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