sarahkeenihan

Day 348. Happy birthday Rosalind

In July 2013 on July 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

rosalind

Today would have been scientist Rosalind Franklin’s 93rd birthday. She died in 1958, a victim of ovarian cancer at only the age of 38.

Rosalind is best known for her groundbreaking studies in the use of X-ray diffraction – a kind of early imaging technology – to study biological molecules, including viruses. In the early 1950s, Rosalind created unique diffraction images which hinted at the then-unknown structure of DNA. Yet she was not acknowledged in Watson and Crick’s world-changing 1953 publication describing DNA’s double-helix molecular arrangement, despite the fact that the two men had viewed her images and clearly used them to further their own advancing theories.

Rosalind was apparently a remarkably clever and driven woman, with a passion not only for science but also for languages, travel and hiking.

Thanks to Mia Cobb, this morning I was alerted to the following phrases from Rosalind at age 20, taken from a letter to her father in 1940:

“Science and everyday life cannot and should not be separated.

Science, for me, gives a partial explanation of life. In so far as it goes, it is based on fact, experience, and experiment.

In my view, all that is necessary for faith is the belief that by doing our best we shall come nearer to success and that success in our aims (the improvement of the lot of mankind, present and future) is worth attaining.”

These words fit perfectly into my Science for Life philosophy.

Happy birthday Rosalind.

You can read more about Rosalind Franklin in Brenda Maddox’s excellent biography Rosalind Franklin The Dark Lady of DNA

[image thanks to Droid Gingerbread on flickr]

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  1. OMG, Rosalind’s words are fabulous! Thanks, they ring very true for me too.

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