A brief tour of the original artwork of Maurice Wilkins

In today's post, I wish to offer a short tour of original artwork done by Professor Maurice Wilkins in the form of a series of playful and inventive cartoons that rather helpfully illustrate elements of the philosophy of science. The origins of these cartoons stem from Maurice Wilkins' involvement in the teaching of the course, 'Social Impact of the Biosciences' here at King's. He would also illustrate his Eddington Memorial lectures on the 'Origins of the Modern World View' (1978) with quirky artwork to illustrate certain points such as the example below: where the ancient and the modern thinkers both accuse the other of hubris in their attempt to understand the world.



Or the artwork could be purely illustrative such as this example of a hierarchy of angels...






It is however, his 'Social Impact of the Biosciences' period that we see Wilkins the artist at his most creative peak. Not many artists have attempted to graphically depict in demonic form the social conditioning that impairs objective vision (see Figure 1) or the general schisms inherent in western culture through the guise of Jim Watson and Francis Crick building the double helix (see Figure 2).


Figure 1: Cartoon of Man having his objective vision tampered with by marauding demons representing social conditioning in the way people perceive society



Figure 2: Cartoon versions of Jim Watson and Francis Crick observe with resigned horror the inherent fractures in Western culture.



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