Rosalind Franklin: One of the Unknown Discoverers of DNA

Rosalind Franklin Early Life

One of the unknown discoverers of DNA discovery, Rosalind Franklin (Rosalind Elsie Franklin) was born on July 25, 1920 in London, England. She was the second of five children born to Ellis and Muriel Franklin. Her parents came from highly educated and socially conscious Jewish families, and were very devoted to their religion and their instincts to help their people persecuted by Nazi Germany. Her father, Ellis Arthur Franklin, continued to maintain the substantial family fortune, while continuing to do banking.

Rosalind was an extraordinary child. She was interested in all kinds of games that boys were interested in, because she always spent time with her three brothers, Rosalind loved competition more than anything. Rosalind did not play with dolls like her peers, but was constantly drawing, inventing tools, and writing. Rosalind would use these abilities to make molecular models and equipment in the future.

Rosalind Franklin Scientific Contributions

Rosalind made important contributions to the discovery of the molecular structure of DNA. Franklin also helped lay the foundation for structural virology, providing a new perspective on virus structures. Growing up in a wealthy Jewish family in London, Rosalind Franklin owed this to her good education. At the age of 18, Rosalind studied physics and chemistry at Cambridge University’s Newnham Women’s College. Afterwards, she wrote a doctoral thesis on coal porosity and traveled all over the world as a guest speaker.

Rosalind Franklin

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Moving to Paris in 1946, Franklin would carry out her life’s work by taking her skills on X-ray crystallography to the next level. Although Rosalind embraced the liberal lifestyle in Paris, Rosalind accepted a job offer 4 years later at King College in London. Franklin was a very hardworking and competitive woman. Nature walks and excursions were her favourite.

She also liked to discuss science and politics, she. Franklin was known to her teammates as a kind-hearted woman. However, some of her teammates found it difficult to work with him due to her quick temper and stubbornness. Among these employees was Maurice Wilkins. This situation caused some friction between Wilkins and Franklin, which separated them. Before they worked together to find the DNA structure, they later began to work separately.

Rosalind Franklin wins Nobel Prize for discovery of DNA

Wilkins went to work with her close friend Francis Crick in the Cavendish laboratory. They were working on the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule. For some unknown reason, some of Franklin’s unpublished research and the notoriously beautiful Photo 51 were spotted by Watson and Crick.

The helical structure of the DNA molecule was clearly visible in this X-ray diffraction photo. They then created the world-famous Watson-Crick DNA model using Franklin’s photo and data.

Rosalind Franklin

Although Franklin’s contribution is not included here, Crick said that after Franklin’s death her contribution was critical. In 1953, Watson-Crick published research describing that DNA is a double-stranded polymer.

In 1962, Francis Harry Compton Crick, James Dewey Watson, and Maurice Hugh Frederick Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of DNA. Between 1953 and 1958, Franklin continued her work on charcoal, DNA, and tobacco mosaic virus, and although it was rising, Rosalind tragically died of ovarian cancer at the age of 37.


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