Monday 18 September 7.00pm — 8.30pm Francis Crick’s place in history Matt Ridley

Francis Crick, who died at the age of 88 in 2004, made and led a revolution in biology by discovering, quite literally, the secret of life: the digital cipher at the heart of heredity that distinguishes living from non-living things — the genetic code. The talk traces Crick’s life from middle-class mediocrity in the English Midlands, through a lackluster education and six years designing magnetic mines for the Royal Navy, to his leap into biology at the age of 31, when he suddenly began to display the unique visual imagination and intense tenacity of thought that would allow him to see the solutions to several great scientific conundrums — and to see them long before most biologists had even conceived of the problems. Having set out to determine what makes living creatures alive and succeeded, he emigrated aged 60 to California and turned his attention to the second question that had fascinated him since his youth: What makes conscious creatures conscious? Time ran out before he could find the answer. Join Matt Ridley as he talks about his latest book — the first biography of Francis Crick.

Venue: The Royal College of Surgeons of England, 35 — 43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PE. Nearest tube station Holborn.

Tickets cost £8 standard, £5 Ri Members, RCS Fellows/Members and concessions and can be booked by visiting or by contacting the events team on 020 7409 2992.