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Eyes on the Prize: Famed Nobel medal up for grabs

  • Francis Crick's Nobel Prize medal to be sold at auction
  • Crick and his colleagues described the double helix structure of DNA
Eyes on the Prize: Famed Nobel medal up for grabs

Who cares if you made a D in Freshman Biology? If you’ve got some free time this spring and a few hundred grand to spare, your chances of getting a Nobel Prize just got much, much better.

According to LiveScience, the family of the late molecular biologist Francis Crick has put his Nobel Prize medal up for auction. Crick and two of his colleagues -- James Watson and Maurice Wilkins -- shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1962 for describing the double helix structure of DNA, which is considered a pivotal achievement in the field of biology.

The sale of a Nobel Prize in this way is very rare. AFP reports that this is the first time in 70 years a Nobel has been placed at auction. The auction is public, so theoretically anyone can buy the medal to add to their personal collection of accolades they didn't earn or use as a hood ornament, but Crick’s family says they're selling it in the hopes that whoever ends up with the medal will display it. They plan to donate part of the proceeds from its sale to various research institutions, including the new Francis Crick Institute in London, which will open in 2015.

"It [the medal] had been tucked away for so long," Kindra Crick, Francis Crick's 36-year-old granddaughter, told LiveScience. "We really were interested in finding someone who could look after it, and possibly put it on display so it could inspire the next generation of scientists."

The auction of Crick’s Nobel Prize medal -- along with one of his lab coats, some of his journals and books, and other memorabilia -- will take place in New York City on April 15. The opening bid is set for $243,000.

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