A Twist Of Fate

Two unknown scientists solved the secret of life in a few weeks of frenzied inspiration in 1953. Here's how they did it

On Feb. 28, 1953, Francis Crick walked into the Eagle pub in Cambridge, England, and announced that he and James Watson had "found the secret of life." At least that's what Watson remembers; Crick's memory is different. The exact words don't matter that much because the fact is, they had done it. Earlier that day, the two scientists had pieced together the correct solution to a problem that researchers around the world were racing to solve. They had built a model of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that showed by its very structure how DNA could be everything they fiercely believed it to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!