Elucidating the structure of dna

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She was born into a prominent London banking family, where all the children—girls and boys—were encouraged to develop their individual aptitudes.

She attended Newnham College, one of the women’s colleges at Cambridge University.

The four scientists announced the structure of DNA in articles that appeared together in the same issue of . Franklin went to Birkbeck College, London, to work in J. Bernal’s laboratory, a much more congenial setting for her than King’s College.

Franklin’s excellent X-ray photographs, to which they had gained access without her permission, were critical to the correct solution.

Wilkins’s colleague Franklin (1920–1958), who died from cancer at the age of 37, was not so honored.

The reasons for her exclusion have been debated and are still unclear.

(Perutz and Kendrew received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work in the same year that the prize was awarded to the DNA researchers—1962.) Working under Perutz was Francis Crick, who had earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from University College London and had helped develop radar and magnetic mines during World War II.

Crick, another physicist in biology, was supposed to be writing a dissertation on the X-ray crystallography of hemoglobin when Watson arrived, eager to recruit a colleague for work on DNA.

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