UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


Winner - Research Fellowship

1 August 2011

Crick, Francis

Word has reached STS that one of our alumni, Dr Christine Aicardi, has been award the first Wellcome Library Fellowship, a two year postdoctoral award, for her project, “Continuities in Francis Crick’s scientific life from molecular biology to neuroscience, and the interdisciplinary ethos of post-World War II biophysics”.

A summary appears below.

Christine earned her PhD (2010) in Science and Technology Studies from UCL and her MSc (2005) via the London Centre for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology. She published her MSc thesis in the journal, History of Science, and has been busy talking about and further writing up her PhD work. Full-steam ahead.


Over long careers, researchers often change the topics they study. Crick certainly did. This project looks for continuities and breaks over the Crick’s long career and across the many subjects he studied. Most people think Crick’s different interests – DNA vs. neuroscience, for example -- were quite different, and they have a hard time thinking them as linked. I think they were really quite similar and rather deeply interconnected.

In fact, when seen in the broad frame of biophysics research after WW2, Crick’s life work fits into some of the patterns emerging about the general shape of life sciences. My project seeks to learn a lot more about Crick and the people he worked with. I also want to learn a lot more about the biosciences of his times. This will help me fit his case into the larger patterns. My interest in this subject fits into my long-term research into interdisciplinary groups in all sciences and how they operate. My PhD studied one example (people in the past few decades researching ‘artificial life’). This project is another example. I think studies like these can help improve the way interdisciplinary groups operate today.