The untold story of the woman who helped to make one of humanity’s greatest discoveries – DNA – but who was never given credit for doing so.
'Our dark lady is leaving us next week'; on 7 March 1953 Maurice Wilkins of King's College, London, wrote to Francis Crick at the Cavendish laboratories in Cambridge to say that as soon as his obstructive female colleague was gone from King's, he, Crick, and James Watson, a young American working with Crick, could go full speed ahead with solving the structure of the DNA molecule that lies in every gene. Not long after, the pair whose names will be forever linked announced to the world that they had discovered the secret of life.
But could Crick and Watson have done it without the 'dark lady'? In two years at King's, Franklin had made major contributions to the understanding of DNA. She established its existence in two forms, she worked out the position of the phosphorous atoms in its backbone. Most crucially, using X-ray techniques which may have contributed significantly to her later death from cancer at the tragically young age of 37, she had taken beautiful photographs of the patterns of DNA.
This is the extraordinarily powerful story of Rosalind Franklin, told by one of our greatest biographers; the single-minded young scientist whose contribution to arguably the most significant discovery of all time went unrecognized, elbowed aside in the rush for glory, and who died too young to recover her claim to some of that reputation, a woman who was not the wife of anybody and who is a myth in the making. Like a medieval saint, Franklin looms larger as she recedes in time. She has become a feminist icon, the Sylvia Plath of molecular biology. This will be a full and balanced biography, that will examine Franklin's abruptness and tempestuousness, her loneliness and her relationships, the powerful family from which she sprang and the uniqueness of the work in which she was engaged. It is a vivid portrait, in sum, of a gifted young woman drawn against a background of women's education, Anglo-Jewry and the greatest scientific discovery of the century.
In March 1953 Maurice Wilkins of Kings College London, announced the departure of his obstructive colleague, Rosalind Franklin to rival Cavendish Laboratory scientist, Francis Crick.
But it was too late. Franklin's unpublished data and crucial photograph of DNA had already been seen by her competitors at the Cambridge University lab. With the aid of these, plus their own knowledge, Watson and Crick discovered the structure of the molecule that genes are composed of – DNA, the secret of life. Five years later, after more brilliant research under Bernal at Birbeck College, at the age of thirty-seven, Rosalind died of ovarian cancer. In 1962 Wilkins, Crick and Watson were awarded the Nobel Prize for their elucidation of DNA's structure. Franklins part was forgotten until she was caricatured in Watson's book 'The Double Helix'
In this full and balanced biography Brenda Maddox has been given unique access to Rosalind's personal correspondence and has interviewed all the principal scientists including Crick, Watson and Wilkins.
This is a powerful story, told by one of our finest biographers, of a remarkably single-minded, forthright and tempestuous young woman who, at the age of fifteen decided she was going to be a scientist, but who was airbrushed out of the greatest scientific discovery of the twentieth century.
"As a scientist Miss Franklin was distinguished by extreme clarity and perfection in everything she undertook. Her photographs are among the most beautiful x-ray photographs of any substance ever taken."
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Descripción HarperCollins, 2002. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 0002571498
Descripción HarperCollins, 2002. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería 2571498