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ROSALIND FRANKLIN

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We love learning about famous scientists and their contributions here at Eco-Life Gizmos. Rosalind Franklin is an influential figure across scientific disciplines – she was creative with crystalline structures (physics), dazzling with DNA (chemistry) and even vibrant in learning about viruses (biology). Born in London on the 25th July 1920 – she is therefore our featured scientist for the month of July.
She went on to gain extensive scientific experience both at university (she completed her degree at Cambridge, and then went onto work in Crystallography in Paris by 1946) and at The British Coal Utilization Research Association.

Remember, it is also through her work with coal that she gained an appreciation of crystalline structures. Here at Eco Life Gizmos we are proud to offer an array of crystal-growing kits: including options to grow your own crystal garden and crystal animals!

Yet is in her work with X-ray crystallography, diffraction and the structures of DNA that she is often best known for. She studied and discovered the A and B forms of DNA, which became the foundation for later investigation about the Double Helix. Her contribution researching the structure of coals and other carbons, is also important.   She led the use of X-rays to produce images of crystalized solids; analysing the material as a whole, not just single crystals.

Franklin changed the course of DNA discovery history – yet was no stranger to controversy either!  A colleague Maurice Wilkins showed her DNA research, photo 51, to a competing scientist, James Watson. It was then Watson and his colleague Crick who would use what they had seen in Photo 51 as the basis for their famous DNA model: receiving lots of credit for it… when in fact much of the work was Franklin’s!

Undeterred, she went on to work in other scientific areas including viruses and the structure of RNA. She continued her studies with dedication, though diagnosed very young with ovarian cancer and passing away aged only 37 on April 16th, 1958. 

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