When I was undertaking postgrad studies in a microbiology and molecular biology lab I remember discussing Rosalind Franklin – a X-Ray Crystallographer who along with Watson & Crick determined the structure of DNA. We also discussed how she missed out on winning the Nobel Prize for this scientific break through. I was interested in her story! And given that she had conducted most of her work in the 1940’s & 50’s when there weren’t too many women in science this fascinated me even more!!
For a good biography of Rosalind Franklin have a look at Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosalind_Franklin.
This article also focuses on the controversy surrounding her role in the discovery of the structure of DNA, the lack of recognition of her role, prejudices she faced as a woman and the most saddest part of all – her death from complications from ovarian cancer before her role in this ground breaking discovery was recognised. And due to her death, according to Nobel Prize rules regarding nominating posthumously, she missed out on being awarded the Nobel Prize along with Crick, Watson, and Wilkins in 1962 (although as referenced in this article, the prize was for work on nucleic acids as well as the structure of DNA).
And as a woman and a scientist that has worked with DNA I think Rosalind Franklin is a true inspiration, and although the controversies surrounding her role in discovering the structure of DNA and the sexism and prejudices she faced can overshadow her contributions, I think more people should be made aware of her significant work.
- Rosalind Franklin and the DNA Double Helix (brighthub.com)
- James Gleick: ‘Information poses as many challenges as opportunities’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Feb 28, 1953: Watson and Crick Discover Chemical Structure of DNA (censorshipinamerica.com)
- DNA: The Secret of Life (milkandcookies.com)