Crick graduated in physics from University College, London in 1937. Further postgraduate studies were interrupted by the war. During this time Crick worked for the British Admiralty developing radar and magnetic mines for naval defence.
In 1947 he became interested in the applied use of physics in biology, in particular the investigation of genes at a molecular level and the structure of DNA. He began studying biology, organic chemistry and X-ray diffraction and by 1949 was investigating protein structure at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge.
With the help of Rosalind Franklin (1920-58) and Maurice Wilkins (1916- ), Crick and James Watson (1928- ) suggested that DNA was made up of a double helix. Together they built a series of models, eventually making one, which incorporated all known features of DNA. Crick and Watson published their work on the structure of DNA in 1953. In 1962, along with Wilkins, they shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
Crick received his PhD from Gaius College, Cambridge in 1953 and remained there until 1977 when he was appointed professor at the Salk Institute, California. Crick's current research interests include the function of the brain.