The discovery of the structure of DNA was one of the most important scientific achievements in the last century. The now famous double-helix is almost synonymous with James Watson and Francis Crick – they won the Nobel Prize for figuring it out. However, you may have heard that Rosalind Franklin’s data supported Watson and Crick’s idea, or that:
“She was a plain dressing belligerent scientist.”
That was actually how Watson described her in his book The Double Helix. Thanks to Franklin’s biographers who investigated her life and interviewed many people close to her, we now know that Watson’s account of her is far from the truth.
“Her Scientific contributions have been vastly underplayed.”
In her early years, she won a scholarship to Cambridge where she earned her PHD. She later conducted research on the structure of coal that led to better gas masks for the British during World War II.
Rosalind Franklin is commemorated with a blue plaque in Chelsea. If you’re in the area why not check it out for yourself!
The address is Donovan Court, 107 Drayton Gardens, Chelsea, London SW10 9QS,
By Abigail Opiah