science education resource

Dr. Rosalind Franklin

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Known For

Everyone knows about Watson and Crick discovering the structure of DNA, but few people know that their work was built upon the work of Rosalind Franklin, a research associate at King's College. She used X-ray crystallography to map atoms under an X-ray beam. When she applied this technique to DNA, she discovered that the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA was outside of the molecule and that the molecule was helix-shaped. Her yet unpublished work was used by Watson and Crick to help complete their model of the DNA molecule, that later won them the 1962 Nobel Prize. After working with unshielded X-rays for many years, in 1958 Franklin developed cancer and died at the age of 37. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, she never got the credit for her essential work, so it is through acknowledgements such as this that Rosalind Franklin's legacy lives on. Rosalind Franklin

Dr. Rosalind Franklin has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.