Women in Science: Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin looking under a microscope Retrieved from

Rosalind Franklin looking under a microscope

The first time that I had ever become aware of any prejudices in the field of science, specifically sexism, was during my eleventh grade biology class. You never really think about these issues existing in science when you are a teenager for two main reasons. First off, a lot of students I knew in high school were not interested or did not fully understand science, and secondly, we are usually told facts, and not opinions during class time. However, this particular week in my biology class, we were covering the topic of DNA, and we had just learnt about the double helix structure discovered by James Watson and Francis Crick. After reading my textbook thoroughly (because I actually liked, and still do like, reading science textbooks), I had learnt that the story behind the discovery of DNA was not as plain and simple as I had thought. This double helix structure, made up of nitrogenous bases, and framed by a phosphate and sugar backbone, would not have been discovered if it were not for the previous research done by Rosalind Franklin. She had used X-ray diffraction, a technique that uses X-rays beams that diffract against substances, in her case DNA, which create a certain pattern. She had taken many X-ray photographs of the DNA in her studies. Continue reading