by Esther Braun Sparberg

Credit for Demystifying DNA Denies One Woman’s Role

This misogyny is no surprise to an octogenarian Jewish feminist scientist.

Fifty years since the discovery of the structure of DNA, Rosalind Franklin has emerged from obscurity. An upper class English Jew, she was a brilliant experimental scientist, and an outstanding crystallographer Her superb X-ray photos of DNA, made in 1951 when she was a researcher at Kings College, London, were a critical key to the discovery that DNA is a double helix. This landmark discovery, which provided the explanation for how genetic traits are transferred, led to the Nobel Prize for James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins in 1962. Rosalind Franklin, their unacknowledged colleague, had died in 1958 of ovarian cancer—age 37.

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