In Memoriam: Dr. Francis Crick

Remembering Dr. Crick’s contribution to painonline.


We first heard of Francis Crick in junior high school. He and James Watson had uncovered the double helix structure of DNA. We never imagined he would one day be associated with us in a project to disseminate information on pain.

Obviously one of the world’s foremost geneticists, few realized why Dr. Crick, at the peak of his game in genetics, sudddenly switched to brain science. We ourselves could not understand it. However, we are grateful for it. Dr. Crick felt an obligation to help solve pain. What a great scientist and great man he was. His passing fills us with sadness for his fame gave impetus to pain research. He was calling the attention of other scientists to this important field. We mourn his recent passing along with John Bonica and Patrick Wall, all of them icons of pain research. They seem irreplaceable.

His work was of course centered at the Salk Institute, and his work at painonline exceedingly minute. Nevertheless, he helped steer us toward more attention to the insular cortex as an “area where pain is perceived as painful”. When Dr. Crick gave his input, perception of painfulness was generally placed in the frontal cortex, but time has born him out. It was one of his last theories, but seems destined to be proved correct.

For someone of Dr. Crick’s status, it represented an extremely generous contribution to assist in presenting the information on the role of the insular cortex in pain at this site. Dr. Crick bravely made his contribution to the article here when he knew existing theory would not support him.

We will attempt to continue the charge he gave to provide information on basic pain mechanisms.