Rosalind Franklin

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Rosalind Franklin
portrait by Rori
Born 25 July 1920
Notting Hill, London, England
Died 16 April 1958(1958-04-16) (aged 37)
Chelsea, London, England
Ovarian cancer
Nationality British
Fields Biophysics
Institutions British Coal Utilisation Research Association
Laboratoire central des services chimiques de l'État
King's College London
Birkbeck College, London
Alma mater Newnham College, Cambridge
Known for Fine structure of coal and graphite, DNA structure, viruses

Rosalind Franklin (Notting Hill, London, 25 July 1920 – London, 16 April 1958) was a British biophysicist. She was known for helping to discover the structure of DNA. Rosalind Franklin was about 15 years old when she knew that she wanted to become a scientist. She attended St. Paul's Girls' School and then continued school at Newham College in Cambridge. At Newham College she got a Ph.D in physical chemistry. She worked on coal, studies of RNA, and viruses. She was one of the first people to do X-ray crystallography on DNA. She also spent several years working in Paris studying crystals. [3] She discovered the size, shape, and arrangement of molecules. She dedicated her life to discovering more about molecules.

In 1951, she moved to London. She joined a group of scientific researchers at King's College. Her assignment was to take pictures of DNA. She looked at the structure and function of DNA in the pictures. This job was very difficult because technology was simple at that time. During this job, Franklin worked with a man name Raymond Gosling. He was also trying to photograph the DNA. Franklin also had to work with Maurice Wilkins. The scientists had many arguments, but Franklin kept working. Instead of working with Wilkins, Franklin liked to work with Gosling. She created X-ray pictures that showed that DNA is shaped like a double helix.[1]

In 1951, Franklin presented her idea about the shape of DNA at a conference. A biologist named James D. Watson went to her conference. Watson and Francis Crick were biologists. They were also studying the shape of DNA. They were building 3D examples of the helix shape.  

Watson and Crick used Franklin's work in their work to discover the structure of DNA. Their final model was presented in 1953. They did not say that Franklin's thoughts helped them complete their work. She also discovered the structure of the tobacco mosaic virus a couple of years before she died.

Franklin died from ovarian cancer in 1958. Nobel Prizes are not awarded after a person's death, so she was not considered for the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. It was awarded to Francis Crick, James D. Watson and Maurice Wilkins.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Rosalind Franklin." Scientists: Their Lives and Works, UXL, 2006. Student Resources in Context. Accessed 31 Mar. 2017.