Rosalind Franklin, (1920-1958)
Notting Hill, London, England
Digital Illustration, 24" x 32", 2022
In 1952, Rosalind Franklin was studying a photograph of a DNA fiber. Through careful inspection, she discovered that DNA was made up of two helixes. This led to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA. This famous photo was eventually called “Photo 51.”
Unfortunately, after publishing two papers, her work was taken without permission and used by Francis Crick and James Watson. Crick and Watson went on to claim the discovery of the DNA double helix structure and were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1962. They gave no recognition to Franklin and portrayed her as a “bad-tempered and arrogant woman.”
Only after Franklin’s early death did the fact that she discovered the DNA double helix come to light. Her work is the foundation for our understanding of the human genome, genetic engineering, and viruses.