Beyond Curie—a design project celebrating women in STEM
They changed history and the world often without recogntiion
rosalind.png

Rosalind Franklin

Dame of DNA

18/35

18/35

Rosalind Franklin is the dame of DNA. Born in 1920, she used X-ray diffraction to take a picture of DNA that changed biology. Photo 51, her picture of DNA, was shown to James Watson and Francis Crick without her knowledge by her colleague Maurice Wilkins who thought she was just a lab assistant when she was heading up her own projects. This photo allowed Watson and Crick to deduce the correct structure for DNA. They published a series of articles in the scientific journal Nature in April 1953. Franklin also published in the same issue and provided even more details on DNA's structure. Though Franklin's image of DNA was critical to deciphering its structure, she passed away before 1962 when the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Watson, Crick and Wilkins. The Nobel Prize is never awarded posthumously, so it's debatable whether or not she would have been included in the Nobel Prize win. But her story is certainly one of the most well-known and shameful instances of a researcher being robbed of credit.