Who was Rosalind Franklin?

We’ve all heard of DNA haven’t we, well this lady, Rosalind Franklin, was the first lady to start the research into it.

Rosalind Franklin was born in 1920 in London, and although her father disapproved of her going to university, she went to Cambridge and earned a PhD in physical chemistry.

The big unanswered question of that era was “What is the shape of DNA?”.

Even though scientists knew that DNA formed the building blocks of the body they had no idea what it looked like and so started Rosalind Franklin’s research in King’s College.

She spent many hours using an X-ray on delicate fibres of DNA, capturing a famous photo proving DNA is a double helix.

It is now understood that two other scientists named James Watson and Francis Crick were also trying to fathom out what DNA was made up of and they secretly looked at Rosalind Franklin’s research without her knowledge or permission.

They later published their findings along with Rosalind’s work and but crucially did not credit her.

After that incident Rosalind left King’s College and went to work at a top research lab, where she moved on to research the tobacco mosaic and polio viruses.

She also research the use of charcoal to be used in gas masks during WWII.

She died very young at the age of 37 years old from cancer in 1958.

Watson and Crick won a Nobel Prize four years later for their research and work into DNA, but it came to light that they had used some of Rosalind Franklin’s data and she is now known as one of the pioneer’s into the research of the “shape of DNA”.