Sturff Hero: why you should know Rosalind Franklin’s name

The famous photo 51 and the real story of DNA discovery

It has been 60 years since Watson and Crick announced their discovery of DNA.  It has been 51 years since they were awarded the Nobel prize for it, leaving out one of the most important people involved in its discovery. You see, Watson and Crick came up with the first correct model of DNA based largely on photographs of it. The most famous of these, Photo 51, is currently on display at Somerset House in London if you wish to behold this historical triumph in person.

RosalindFranklin_ScienceSource

But Watson and Crick didn’t take these photos themselves. It was the x-ray crystallography wizard, Rosalind Franklin, who captured the images of DNA that allowed Watson and Crick to work out its structure. Rosalind was working with Maurice Wilkins at the time, who was awarded the Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Watson and Crick.

Why was Rosalind’s role in the discovery of DNA ignored?

Some say it’s because Watson and Crick didn’t realize it was her work because Wilkins released it to them without her knowing. Others claim it was sexism of the times. Or perhaps it was a case of out-of-sight, out-of-mind because Rosalind died tragically of Cancer at age 37, just four years before the Nobel Prize was awarded. But now we know to celebrate Rosalind Franklin’s achievements. Cheers to Google shining a spotlight on this extraordinary scientist on what would have been her 93rd birthday. Sturff also recognizes Rosalind Franklin as one of our great heroes!

RosalindFranklin_imagingDNA_crop

Google Doodle’s image posted 25 July celebrates Rosalind Franklin who helped discover DNA

–Photograph of Rosalind Franklin working at the microscope thanks to Science Source–

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