Rosalind Franklin was honored on Thursday in the latest Google Doodle. The tribute was done to celebrate the British biophysicist’s 93rd birthday.
Dr. Franklin was best known for unlocking the shape and structure of DNA. She and a team of scientists were able to decipher the pattern of bands that make up a DNA molecule.
And the Google Doodle honoring Franklin doesn’t differ much from what actually happened. The doodle features a cartoon portrait of a woman looking at a molecule with a double helix. She sees a pattern of horizontal bands that look like an X, reports ABC News.
The results of the study involving Franklin were published in the journal Nature in several papers. But Rosalind Franklin wasn’t well known for the discovery, which was credited mostly to James Watson and Francis Crick, who wrote the first paper in the series.
While Watson, Crick and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize in Physiology of Medicine for their work, Franklin was no longer eligible. She was never considered for the prize and passed away in 1958 of ovarian cancer, notes National Geographic.
Part of Rosalind Franklin’s lack of recognition for her part in the DNA discovery can be attributed to tension between her and her male colleagues. However, James Watson agreed later that she deserved more recognition than she got. He stated, “If Rosalind had been alive, the only just thing would have been two Nobel prizes. [Franklin and Wilkins] could have got the prize in chemistry.”
Rosalind Franklin was born in London in 1920 and graduated with a doctorate in physical chemistry from Cambridge University in 1945. After her graduation, Franklin spent three years in Paris learning X-ray diffraction techniques.
From there, she worked in John Randal’s lab at king’s College in London. Franklin and Wilkins worked on separate projects, both involving DNA. James Watson and Francis Crick contacted Wilkins, who showed them Franklin’s image of DNA without her knowledge. That image, called Photo 51, helped the trio discover the correct structure for DNA.
What do you think of the Google Doodle honoring Rosalind Franklin?