Here’s something interesting that I read recently at BBC News England.
It’s all about a letter from Francis Crick to his 12 year old son, Michael describing his discovery of the double helix of DNA.
I have reproduced a small picture of Crick’s letter about the helix from the BBC’s article
You can see that the photo of the actual letter is much too small to analyze. I wish I knew how to enlarge it for you – but sadly I can’t without ruining it!
Anyway it’s still possible to see how Crick’s enthusiasm simply lifts off the page.
Note the widening left margin and the upward slope of the letter as a whole.
But even more interesting as the article points out is the fact that the letter was bought for $5.3 million by an anonymous buyer.
Here is a direct quote from the BBC’s article:
The letter begins:
“My dear Michael,
Jim Watson and I have probably made a most important discovery.
“We have built a model for des-oxy-ribose-nucleic-acid (read carefully) called DNA for short.”
He described it as a “beautiful” structure and included a sketch of it, underneath which he wrote: “The model looks much nicer than this.”
The letter concludes: “Read this carefully so that you will understand it. When you come home we will show you the model.
“Lots of love,
And with that history was made and the science of genetics was changed forever!
Even though the illustration of the letter is small I’d be very interested to know what you can make of the handwriting. Give it a go and let me know in the comment section below.