Rosalind Franklin, DNA scientist, celebrated by Google doodle


The latest Google doodle celebrates the life and work of British biophysicist and x-ray crystallographer Rosalind Franklin, whose research led to the discovery of the structure of DNA.

Franklin was born in Notting Hill, London on 25 July 1920.

The second "o" in the doodle contains her image, while the "l" has been replaced with the DNA double helix.

Franklin also made critical contributions to our understanding of the molecular structures of RNA, viruses, coal and graphite.

She died from ovarian cancer in April 1958, aged just 37.

The scientist has perhaps become best known as "the woman who was not awarded the Nobel prize for the co-discovery of the structure of DNA".

Written By: The Guardian
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  1. In reply to #1 by aroundtown:

    I am glad to see a shout-out to Rosalind Franklin. I think of her from time to time regarding her minimization. Her contribution was profound in the endeavor and it will always bother me that she did not receive the recognition that she should have received.

    It is ironic that the doodle thing com…

    I don’t agree (though I’m sure there will be many who do).
    If you look at Rosalind Franklins entry in Wikipedia you will see she has been given many posthumous awards had buildings named after her, and has a plaque on the street where she was born.
    To be controversial I don’t think she merits more than that. She assembled all data that Crick and Watson needed to crack the structure of dna and without that data it would have taken much longer but I think it is possible they would have go there in the end.
    Crucially she did not spot spot what they spotted even though she was meticulous in her work; she had not enough pieces of the puzzle to complete it, or grasp the double helix.

    By the time Kings transferred her data to Cambridge she was already working on a new project. As an employee her data belonged to her employer and the normal protocols between these universities meant that data could be shared in a spirit of cooperation rather than viewed as personal property where permission was needed.
    Obviously she could never been awarded the Nobel prize because it is not given posthumously. In terms of the popular media, given the number of books, tv programmes and plays done on her life she has done ok for recognition.

    My question is, if she had been male in the same circumstances but without being taken up by feminism as a cause celebre; would we have heard of him?
    Before anybody jumps on me I do believe in equal rights for women and recognise that institutions of the day did reflect the chauvinism of the wider society, I just remain unconvinced that Franklin’s achievements were on a par with Crick and Watson’s.

  2. James Burke did a wonderful documentary series in the 1970s called Connections. One theme was how often, when the time is ripe, all kinds of people suddenly come up with the same essential idea. It is not as though if the person who eventually got the credit had done nothing we would wait for centuries for rediscovery. Classic examples include Leibnitz and Newton inventing calculus, Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace discovering evolution,

  3. Perhaps her work was spotlighted to inspire women to enter the science field.

    The u.s. has any number of groups whose goal is to attract girls to science while in school. A ‘google doodle’ of Ms. Franklin, I’m guessing, may quietly spark how many girls interest to the sciences?

  4. No man (woman) is an island. No one has made any scientific discovery in a vacuum (colloq.); not even Einstein. He worked in a patent office. All scientific discovery is a collaboration between the discoverer and the hundreds and thousands who had previously accumulated the pertinent data that led to the discovery. It is the religious bent of humanity that awards credit to a handful of those immediately involved in the discovery. Ask any greedy corporate shill! No company or individual to date owns the patent on genius. Human intelligence is a product of evolution and genetics.

  5. Franklin is mentioned in every text I have ever learned or taught. She is mentioned by every teacher I have ever sat with or had as a colleague.

    I even had a professor who told a story of Wilkins making romantic overtures towards Franklin and, upon being spurned, showing her crystallographs to her competitors. (While probably complete bullshit, it made the story stick in my mind).

    She did not get the Nobel; nor mention by Watson and Crick. She should have had at least the latter. IMO, she took the single most important X-ray Crystallograph, ever. Having said this, her technique and attention to detail was second to none. I am not sure Watson and Crick would have arrived at their answer without her. However, I am pretty sure that she would not have arrived at the answer by herself.

  6. Rosalind Franklin became my hero and inspiration when I decided to pursue a degree in science. I learned about her in my college biology class. She was brilliant. I was happy to see this article. I wish more young girls in school could see all the women who have contributed to the world of science and mathematics.

  7. “the woman who was not awarded the Nobel prize for the co-discovery of the structure of DNA”.

    The Nobel prize is not awarded posthumously and Rosalind Franklin was dead by the time the prizes were awarded. If she had been alive the prize probably would have not been in triplicate but she and Wilkins would have shared the prize in chemistry. Watson and Crick in physiology or medicine.

    No one will ever know now if that would have been the case.

  8. They are taking Charles Darwins image from the ten pound note in 2016, Rosalind franklin would of been a good replacement. Thanks to her involvement in the DNA structure discovery we have solid evidence that backs darwins claims that we evolved from apes similar to modern chimps.

  9. While agreeing with the comments about Rosalind Franklin,it would be fair to point out she was not a very nice person to work with ,being infamous for her rudeness and high handed behaviour towards the technicians.She was also convinced that any comment or criticism was inspired by anti semitism.

  10. I’m pleased to be able to say that I recognized Franklin from the doodle; the houses at our daughters’ school were Darwin, Shakespeare, Newton and Franklin; not bad choices.

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