Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins CBE FRS was a New Zealand-born British biophysicist and Nobel laureate whose research spanned multiple areas of physics and biophysics, contributing to the scientific understanding of phosphorescence, isotope separation, optical microscopy and X-ray diffraction, and to the development of radar. He is best known for his work at King's College London on the structure of DNA.
Wilkins' work on DNA falls into two distinct phases. The first was in 1948–1950, when his initial studies produced the first clear X-ray images of DNA, which he presented at a conference in Naples in 1951 attended by James Watson. During the second phase, 1951–52, Wilkins produced clear "B form" "X" shaped images from squid sperm, images he sent to James Watson and Francis Crick, causing Watson to write "Wilkins... has obtained extremely excellent X-ray diffraction photographs" [of DNA].
In 1953, Wilkins' group coordinator Sir John Randall instructed Raymond Gosling to hand over to Wilkins a high-quality image of "B" form DNA, which Raymond Gosling had made in 1952, after which his supervisor Rosalind Franklin "put it aside" as she was leaving King's College London.