JESSICA WILSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JESSICA WILSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958), British chemist and X-ray crystallographer. Montage of images of the life and work of Franklin, whose work producing X-ray images of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) was crucial in the discovery of the molecule's structure by James Watson and Francis Crick. Franklin graduated from Cambridge in 1942, and conducted research in the UK and Paris until 1950. She returned to King's College, London, to work on the structure of DNA using X-ray crystallography. Her X-ray images of DNA crystals were of the highest quality, and recognized a number of elements of the structure of DNA. These images were crucial to Watson and Crick finalizing the structure of DNA. Watson, Crick and Maurice Wilkins (Franklin's colleague at King's College) were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 for the discovery of DNA's structure. Unfortunately, Franklin had died of cancer by then, and was thus ineligible for the award.
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