Rosalind Franklin


Women's History Month - March 18th

Rosalind Franklin is known among some scientists as the “Dark Lady of DNA.”  Prior to her work on DNA, Franklin published five papers on the nature of coal and charcoal, helping launch the field of high-strength carbon fibers. While at the King’s College in London to study living cells, Franklin’s work of x-ray diffraction on DNA led to the discovery of its structure, the double helix. Rosalind Franklin worked with Maurice Wilkins in the lab, but their relationship became strained when Wilkins thought Franklin was only a technical assistant. Soon after, Watson, Crick and Wilkins published a paper on the structure of DNA using Rosalind Franklin’s famous “Photo 51” without permission or without acknowledgement to Franklin. This did not stop Rosalind Franklin from continuing her passion for scientific research. Until her death from ovarian cancer, Rosalind Franklin headed her own research group at Birkbeck College in London, where she further studied coal and viruses including polio and the tobacco mosaic virus. The findings from her research group laid the foundation for structural virology. The Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science honors her in name and the high caliber of research that Rosalind Franklin was known for in life.