Recorded: 03 Mar 2003
I think the first thing that I have is a general memory of the feeling in the [King’s College Biophysics] laboratory. Because Randall had the Wheatstone physics under his domain and he had an MRC unit. So he had a very big group of scientists working for him. And the great thing that they all had in common was, as I said at the banquet here at the end of the meeting, was a sense of fun. Science turned them on and that is what I find and what I carried away from that time was that—and I’ve always said to my students, for God’s sake and I’ve been teaching medical students for ages. If medicine and medical science doesn’t turn you on, for God’s sake get out! Go and find something else because you will spend, the major part of your living time at this work and it better be fun otherwise it’s drudgery. And it was. The attitude in the lab was one of high spirits. However, for me personally once I got my Ph.D. and I had then a research postdoc fellowship, but I found that it was hard to justify one’s existence on research alone. When the research is going well, it’s great. But you’ve go to have the mental fiber, the stamina to see yourself through when nothing works. And that’s why I took up a permanent academic post because then you could say, “Ah, well I’m educating the young and that is my raison d’etre and anything else is a bonus.”
But that’s been very good for me because I have learned a lot from my students. I’ve learned a lot of physiology and that’s been very helpful. But it all goes back to Randall’s time when that lab, and in fact, people were having so much fun in that lab. The jealous people in other departments, which of course didn’t have this big amount of money the old man had got from the MRC. They’d refer to it as Randall’s Circus. And I was very proud to have worked in Randall’s Circus
Raymond Gosling arrived at King’s lab in 1949 to work as a research student. Under the direction of Rosalind Franklin, he helped to perfect the technique of x-ray diffraction photography to obtain the A and B form images of DNA. Gosling met Watson when he arrived in Wilkins’s lab to review DNA diffraction images.
After completing his Ph.D., Gosling left King’s to teach physics at Queens’ College in Cambridge, at the University of St. Andrews, and at the University of the West Indies. He returned to the UK in 1967 to become professor and eventually emeritus professor in Physics Applied to Medicine at the Guy’s Hospital Medical School.
Raymond Gosling has dedicated much of his time researching the elasticity of the arterial system in order to develop tests to monitor one’s risk of stroke and heart attack.