Discovering Francis Crick

Today I encountered a name I never heard of before (but should have) and as I pay attention to coincidences I had to look him up.  First , as part of my class on learning, I watched an interview with Terrence Sejnowski. He said

I’d like to introduce you to Francis Crick’s brain [pointing to a model brain on his desk]. So, I first met Francis 30 years ago, and this brain was sitting in his office. And, Francis was a close colleague of, I, moved here about 25 years ago, and got to know Francis much much better. And one day, we were chatting, and Francis pointed out this brain that had been sitting there for decades and said Terry do you know that I just recently realized that this brain is much bigger than a real brain. And in fact you could not fit this brain in my skull if you actually look at the relative sizes. It’s, it’s, this is a teaching tool for medical students. You know, you could take apart the different parts of the brain. But it’s interesting that Francis Crick didn’t realize that until much, much later, when he actually looked at it with new eyes. And so, you know, this is something about. Learning with fresh new eyes.

Some time later I happened to watch David Chalmers’ TED video on How do you explain consciousness? He said

Now, about 20 years ago, all that [the view that a science of consciousness is impossible] began to change. Neuroscientists like Francis Crick and physicists like Roger Penrose said now is the time for science to attack consciousness. And since then, there’s been a real explosion, a flowering of scientific work on consciousness. And this work has been wonderful.

So who is Francis Crick? The intro of his wikipedia page says:

Francis Harry Compton Crick, OM, FRS (8 June 1916 – 28 July 2004) was an English molecular biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist, most noted for being a co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule in 1953 with James Watson. He, Watson, and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material”.

For me his most interesting sounding book is

Cover for The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search For The SoulThe Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search For The Soul
Traditionally, the human soul is regarded as a nonphysical concept that can only be examined by psychiatrists and theologists. In his new book, The Astonishing Hypothesis, Nobel Laureate Francis Crick boldly straddles the line between science and spirituality by examining the soul from the standpoint of a modern scientist, basing the soul’s existence and function on an in-depth examination of how the human brain “sees.”

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