Rosalind Franklin: An Example Of Discrimination In Science

1112 Words5 Pages
Ian Huang
Mr. Gonzalez
Modern World
1 March 2016
An Example of Discrimination in Science
In most science textbooks, Watson and Crick are the two men credited for the discovery of DNA. However, their findings were supported by the work of a number of other scientists, notably Rosalind Franklin. Even though their support from other scientists was instrumental for their discovery, Watson, Wilkins, and Crick jointly won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962, with no mention of Rosalind Franklin. Until the 1990s, Rosalind Franklin had only been vaguely mentioned, even though she had played a huge role in the formulation of their ideas. Unfortunately, Rosalind Franklin died of ovarian cancer when she was thirty-seven in the year of 1958,
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As a girl, she faced some opposition from within the family, as her father did not believe in a higher education for women. He had wanted her to be a social worker, but Rosalind ultimately enrolled at Newnham College in 1938. Later on, she met Maurice Wilkins in John Randall 's laboratory at King 's College, London while working there as a research associate. Despite her extensive work on the DNA project, Wilkins saw her as a technical assistant because of the number of restrictions women had at the time (https://goo.gl/p1XZbH). Rosalind Franklin was also born of a Jewish family, so she faced some anti-semitism as well as discrimination for her strong personality, Maddox writes in the biography, Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA. Additionally, James Watson’s Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA barely mentions the importance of Franklin’s contributions to his…show more content…
I could argue feminist stuff like above, or I could argue that it was a simple case of a scientific race (like below). After a bunch of research, I think that I want to make my paper more scientific and less on debating whether or not Rosalind Franklin was discriminated against, partially because there’s already a lot of feminist writings out there (and frankly, I don’t find it interesting enough to write 5 pages on), and partially because I want to learn more about DNA. I still need to figure out the info before I can do a proper draft the scientific details of the discovery of DNA, so for now I’m working with what I know (which is just about the controversy of Rosalind Franklin). (https://goo.gl/tSVCZw) Above all, Franklin noted that ‘an infinite variety of nucleotide sequences would be possible to explain the biological specificity of DNA’, thereby showing that she had glimpsed the most decisive secret of DNA: the sequence of bases contains the genetic code.

To prove her point, she would have to convert this insight into a precise, mathematically and chemically rigorous model. She did not get the chance to do this, because Watson and Crick had already crossed the finishing line – the Cambridge duo had rapidly interpreted the double helix structure in terms of precise spatial relationships and chemical bonds, through the construction of a physical
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