This is how Francis Crick dealt with unwanted solicitations following the discovery of DNA

Illustration for article titled This is how Francis Crick dealt with unwanted solicitations following the discovery of DNA

When James Watson and Francis Crick unveiled the double-helical structure of DNA, the pair became international celebrities. But with celebrity, can come a lot of unwanted personal attention.

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One of the ways Crick dealt with the barrage of letters, personal requests and solicitations that he received throughout the 1960s was the pre-printed, catch-all reply card featured up top.

According to The Francis Crick Archive at the Wellcome Library, the seventeen reply options you see listed here "are a faithful reflection of the requests [Crick] regularly received," though there was also space to add more if he felt like it. Apparently, unsolicited solutions to "the coding problem" (the question of how just four nucleotides could code for a polypeptide containing up to twenty different amino acids) were pretty common... just not common enough to earn them a spot on the reply card. [For the Record: The Francis Crick Archive at the Wellcome Library via Futility Closet]

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DISCUSSION

standlonesimple
Cursing at the Astronette

Dr. James D. Watson thanks you for your letter and will be happy to accept your kind invitation to;

send a signed photograph

be interviewed on TV

become director of your world famous institute

become director of your world changing project

write a book for you about how he discovered the genetic material

use your unpublished images to support his research without your consent

cure your disease, especially if it is being fat, homosexual or stupid

slight the contributions of your women research scientists (unless they are "pretty")

resign from your world famous institute/project after accepting the above invitations