Who was Rosalind Franklin?

Rosalind Franklin was a scientist who contributed greatly to her field, and achieved much during her time. Some of her most notable achievements include her contributions to discovering the structures of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), viruses, coal, and graphite. Franklin was born and raised in London, where she received a great education, and dedicated much time to studying science. She was able to join the University of Cambridge and eventually the British Coal Utilisation Research Association offered her a research position, which helped her to earn a Ph. D. Franklin also traveled to France where she would pursue her career as an accomplished X-ray crystallographer. Her best known work occurred while she attended King’s College, London. An X-ray diffraction image known as photograph 51 was taken under the supervision of Franklin, and was crucial in determining the molecular structure of DNA. However, a fellow colleague, Maurice Wilkins showed fellow scientist and Nobel Prize winner James Watson the picture without Franklin’s permission. James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins used this photograph to improve their understanding of the molecular structure of DNA, which would lead to the discovery of what is now known as the Watson – Crick Model. In 1962, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Watson, Crick and Wilkins. Rosalind Franklin had died four years earlier, and was not given any credit for her contributions. She is still remembered today as a great scientist of her time who made significantly important contributions to the fields she dedicated her life to. 



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