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Rosalind Franklin - Dark Lady On DNA

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 1

Childhood, Education and Entire Life

Rosalind Franklin was the known British biophysicist. Specializing in x-ray crystallography she made many important contributions in the scientific understanding of the molecular structures of coal, graphite, DNA and viruses. But of all, her biggest achievement was the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), this became the most renowned of all because DNA plays essential role in cell metabolism that helped the scientists to understand how genetic information is passed from parents to children. Using x-ray diffraction Franklin obtained results on the DNA molecules. She worked on DNA in the medical research council biophysics unit at Kings College, London, using her expertness in dealing with amorphous materials. Achieving great titles in the field of science and research it was said that her work did not bring adequate recognisation during her lifetime.

Childhood, Education and Entire Life

Franklin was born on July 25th 1920 in Notting hill, London. She was educated at St Paul girl’s school and north London collegiate school where she excelled in science, Latin and sports. Rosalind went up to Newham College, Cambridge in 193 and was graduated in Ph D in the year 1945.In January 1951 she started working as a research associate King’s college, London in the medical research council. As chemist by training she established herself as a world expert in the structure of graphite and other compounds. Franklin moved on to work on an even more challenging problem like the structure of the tobacco mosaic virus. In spite of being aware of the fact that some of people like Watson and crick have got access of her results she kept on working on more ambitious topics. Rosalind did not marry as she decided to give up marriage for the career in science. Watson, crick and Wilkins got the Noble Prize in physiology and medicine in 1962, four years after Franklin died.    As per the rules of Nobel Prize that limits the number of person awarded should be three and also limit the award to those who are still alive made Franklin non-eligible for the Nobel Prize that as all of her hard work and key role in the in confirming the structure of DNA. Her contribution was also overlooked because of her early death and the attitudes of the scientists toward the women scientists. Rosalind was friendly with Watson and cricks and remained in contact till the last moments of her life. Nevertheless Watson and Crick made abundantly clear in public lectures that they could not have discovered the structure of DNA without her work.

Showing Great Spirit and dedication towards her work she continued to work in her illness also. She was suffering from cancer, undergoing major treatments and surgeries for a long time.  This great women’s life came to an end on 16 April 1958 at the age of 37 due to complications arising from ovarian cancer. Various controversies surrounding Rosalind came to light after her death. But this could not make any difference in her respect and reason to be remembered by the people. This can be proved from Rosalind Franklin university of Medicine and science, opened on her name, to honor her and remember her forever.

As it is said that “One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done”.



Jul 2, 2011 1:35am
This was a very interesting artlicle. I had never heard of Rosalind Franklin. What a shame she died so young.
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