One of our Churchill students, Yolanda Jin, has been working on a project to help bring awareness to women's contributions in Science. This work has been posted in the school and is now available here!
Rosalind Elsie Franklin
(July 25, 1920 – April 16, 1958)
Rosalind Franklin was born into a wealthy British Jewish family in London, England. She attended Newnham College, which is a constituent college of University of Cambridge in 1938, to study chemistry within Natural Sciences Tripos. Franklin later worked as an Assistant Research Officer at the British Coal Utilization Research Association on investigating the porosity of coal. Through her research, Franklin was able to predict behavior or coal as a fuelling substance for the wartime device production. In 1946, Franklin worked in Paris with crystallographer Jacques Mering, who taught her X-ray diffraction that would later enable her to discover the structure of DNA.
Franklin worked with her student Raymond Gosling at King’s College London. During their study on DNA fibers using X-ray diffraction, the two discovered two forms of DNA while taking photos of the structures. Maurice Wilkins, Franklin’s colleague, disclosed Franklin’s most notable photo named “Photo 51” depicting wet “B” form of DNA to competing scientist James Watson.
James Watson, his partner Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins received a Nobel Prize in 1962 for their work on the famous model of DNA based off of Photo 51.
Franklin passed away in 1958 due to ovarian cancer, 4 years prior to the 1962 Nobel Prize awarded to Watson, Crick, and Wilkins. It is unclear whether Franklin would have been awarded the same prize had she been alive to receive the award. Furthermore, Franklin introduced her work on the “development of crystallographic electron microscopy and [the] structural elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid-protein complexes” to her colleague Aaron Klug, who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1982.
List of Posthumous Recognition
· 1995: Newnham College named new graduate residence as “Rosalind Franklin Building
· 1998: Franklin’s portrait placed next to those of Crick, Watson, and Wilkins in National Portrait Gallery
· 2003: Royal Society established Rosalind Franklin Award
· 2014: Bronze statue erected in her honor at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
"The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1982". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 25 Feb 2015. <http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/1982/index.html>
"Rosalind Franklin." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 25 Feb. 2015.