'Overlooked' DNA pioneer gets Google tribute

Jul 25, 2013

Rosalind Franklin, a British biophysicist who became a cause celebre in feminism, on Thursday was awarded a 21st-century tribute in the form of a Google "doodle" on what would have been her 93rd birthday.

In its signature graphic replacing the corporate logo, Google's search engine featured a portrait of Franklin, a molecule of DNA and a now-famous X-ray image she took that helped determine the structure of the code for life.

Two Britons and an American—all men—shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Medicine, nine years after revealing that DNA had a double-helix structure of chemical "rungs" that fitted together.

The landmark paper was published by Francis Crick and James Watson of the legendary Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge on April 25, 1953.

They were selected for the Nobel along with Maurice Wilkins, who headed the laboratory at King's College London where Franklin took the X-ray diffraction images that helped unlock the discovery.

Franklin, a rare woman scientist in what was then a man's world, was snubbed by the three men, who exploited her work without giving her recognition, say feminists.

She has even been dubbed "the Sylvia Plath of molecular biology," a reference to the then-overlooked American writer who took her own life in 1963 during a stormy marriage to fellow poet Ted Hughes.

In a 1961 letter that surfaced earlier this year to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the discovery of DNA, Crick acknowledged the importance of her work in determining "certain features" of the molecule.

Franklin in any case could not be considered for a Nobel, as she died of ovarian cancer in 1958 at the age of 37 and the prize is never awarded posthumously.

Explore further: Physicist creates ice cream that changes colors as it's licked

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

DNA breakthrough spelt double trouble for Nobels

Apr 24, 2013

The discovery of the DNA double helix 60 years ago proved to be a headache for the Nobel organisation as the feat became nominated for prizes in different categories at the same time, Nature reported on Wed ...

Nobel prize for discovering DNA up for auction

Feb 25, 2013

The Nobel prize awarded to Francis Crick in 1962 for discovering the structure of DNA has been put up for auction by his family along with one of his lab coats, his books and other memorabilia.

Letter from DNA discoverer to be auctioned in NYC

Mar 24, 2013

(AP)—Sixty years ago this month, scientist Francis Crick wrote a letter to his 12-year-old son saying he and a colleague had discovered something "very beautiful"—the structure of DNA.

Recommended for you

Shrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birds (w/ Video)

16 hours ago

A new study involving scientists from the University of Southampton has revealed how massive, meat-eating, ground-dwelling dinosaurs evolved into agile flying birds: they just kept shrinking and shrinking, ...

Congressional rift over environment influences public

19 hours ago

American citizens are increasingly divided over the issue of environmental protection and seem to be taking their cue primarily from Congress, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Rural loss and ruin can be avoided

22 hours ago

An Australian Reconstruction Development Board needs to be established to help avoid more needless forcing of Australian farmers from their land, a QUT economist has said.

User comments : 0