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Rosalind Franklin
Stories of inspiration from Smart Girl Stories across the globe. Rosalind Franklin – Understanding The Structure Of DNA

Rosalind Franklin – Understanding The Structure Of DNA

When you think about the discovery of DNA, you probably think about James Watson and Francis Crick. But another scientist deserves equal credit for understanding the structure of DNA — Rosalind Franklin, a British biophysicist. Let’s take a closer look at Rosalind’s incredible life and career and why she should be remembered alongside her fellow scientists.

Rosalind Elsie Franklin was born in London on July 25th, 1920, to a Jewish family. From an early age, she was encouraged to pursue her love of science – something highly unusual for women at the time – and went on to study chemistry at Cambridge University. After completing her degree, she began working as a research associate in the Biophysical Laboratory at King’s College London, where she studied x-ray diffraction images of proteins and viruses. Here, she made some of her most significant contributions to science – discovering the actual structure of DNA.

Franklin’s Data Leaked

In 1952, Franklin took x-ray diffraction images of DNA fibers and carefully analyzed them using mathematics and physics, ultimately deducing its double-helix structure. However, unbeknownst to her team members (particularly James Watson and Francis Crick), Franklin’s data had been shared without her permission with other scientists who were also working on unraveling the mystery of DNA’s structure. While this information was instrumental in helping Watson and Crick reach their conclusion regarding the double-helix design first (and win a Nobel Prize), Rosalind made all the groundwork possible through her meticulous measurements and calculations.

Unfortunately, due to sexism prevalent in academia during this period, Rosalind’s role in this monumental scientific breakthrough was largely overshadowed by those of her male colleagues’ until many years later when they acknowledged it publicly. Despite being overlooked during her lifetime, Rosalind has recently been recognized as an important figure in molecular biology history and an inspiring example for young female scientists everywhere!

Rosalind Franklin – Unsung Hero

Rosalind Franklin is an unsung hero whose contributions to understanding DNA have only recently been fully appreciated. Her work laid the foundation for some of the most exciting discoveries in molecular biology today – discoveries that wouldn’t have been possible without her incredible insight into x-ray diffraction data analysis!

We hope students take inspiration from Rosalind’s story as an example of how hard work pays off no matter what obstacles come your way! Let’s celebrate this remarkable woman by continuing to learn from her legacy today!

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Hannah

Hannah

Founder, Smart Girl, Survivor, Champion of womens rights and kids rights

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