Audio slideshow: 'The secret of life'

In 1953, two Cambridge University scientists published their answer to one of the most fundamental questions of biology - how do living things reproduce themselves? In their article for the journal, Nature, James D Watson and Francis Crick described the structure of a chemical called deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA.

Now - six years after Crick's death - the Wellcome Library in central London is making many of his private research papers available on the web, including an early sketch of the DNA double helix.

The publication marks the start of an ambitious digitisation project by the library, to provide free, online access to millions of documents in its collection. Guided by the Head of the Wellcome Library, Simon Chaplin, take a look at some of the personal papers of Francis Crick - who, it is argued, made the most significant contribution to science to date.

To see the enhanced content on this page, you need to have JavaScript enabled and Adobe Flash installed.

All images courtesy Wellcome Library. Music courtesy KPM Music.

Slideshow production by Paul Kerley. Publication date 23 August 2010.

Related links

Wellcome Library

Francis Crick: Obituary

BBC On This Day: April 1953 - DNA discovery

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

More Science & Environment stories