Thursday, 25 July 2013

Rosalind Elsie Franklin, Google doodle marks her 93rd birthday, today!

Google doodle remembers Rosalind Elsie Franklin (25 July 1920 - 16 April 1958), the pioneer in finding out the structure of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), today. She was a major contributor to the research that finally revealed the double helical structure of DNA. She was a British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer.  She passed away due to Ovarian cancer at the age of 37.

Even while undergoing treatment for Cancer she and her team came out with valuable scientific papers, the results of their research activities.

We were taught at school years ago that Watson and Crick discovered the 'double helical structure of DNA' that resembles a twisted ladder. Only now, I came to know that  Rosalind, a brilliant scientist had actually 'cracked the code' before Watson and Crick. Had she been given due credit of her X-ray diffraction picture of DNA, her name also would have been included in the names of people who made this groundbreaking discovery and received the Nobel prize. It was male dominated Society during the 1950s and she was not given any credit to her contribution.

Google's doodle today and the subsequent search I made before posting this deeply disturbed me.  We often hear such stories in scientific circles. Some steal the entire glory taking full credit of success. They never acknowledge the contribution by so many unknown souls. More often, great discoveries were made by the combined efforts and co-operation of many people. Some might have solved the puzzle by delivering the final blow at the head of the nail but fail to acknowledge the contributions made by others.

People often say I am a self-made person. I wonder if there is any meaning in this!

However, posthumously she has been awarded many honors. Please read more about her and then you will know how great she was!

A big thank you to Google for this kind gesture!

More about her :  A University dedicated to the magnificent legacy of this brilliant scientist!
  • One day the truth will come out. It might take a million years but one beautiful day truth will be revealed to everyone along with concrete evidence. 
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Remembering Grace said...

Hi Rajiv,
Thank you so much for the info!
I'm one of those, like you said, that have thought all these years that Watson and Crick were solely responsible for isolating the DNA sequence. I'm glad to know the truth now.
It made me sad to hear that she died of ovarian cancer. That's what my grandmother died of two years ago. Hopefully one day someone will find a cure for this terrible disease.
Again, wonderful post, thank you so much for sharing.

jonathan said...

What an interesting article and a great lady. Hats off to one outstanding woman!

DWei said...

Sadly I only really recognize her name thanks to Bioshock Infinite...

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

That is Rosalind Lutece !
Was Rosalind Franklin, an inspiration ?

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Thank you so much.

Who discovered the structure of DNA ? This is a common question right from school years upto post graduate studies and beyond in Biology and life sciences in India. DNA studies hold so much of importance now-a-days in Medical and allied fields as well. I never knew that such a great talent was also involved in the research that led to the discovery of DNA structure.

Jonathan, imagine the pain she might have felt when they stole all the credits of her hardwork. If you read more about her then you will understand in detail what such petty office politics and bullying did to a great talented soul. She was totally sidelined in her career.
( All these info from internet resources.) In spite of all these difficulties and a deadly disease she was able to contribute a lot to the study of viruses and related things !

May her soul rest in peace.

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Hi Michelle, thanks a lot for the visit and the comment.

You are welcome !

Like you, I was also under the impression that those two discovered the DNA structure. How many times I have read in different text books for different courses that it was them who made this great discovery. Just yesterday only I came to know that a great lady actually contributed a significant part to this awesome discovery and she was totally sidelined. Shocking!

Please read more about her. You will get to know how badly she was treated by some at her Office. Very sad ! ( All these info from internet sources.)

Sorry to hear that your grandma died of Ovarian cancer. I have read in your blog about her in many posts. I understand she was a wonderful lady.

If cancer is diagnosed early then the outcome is better. As you know treatment of cancer has improved a lot now-a-days. In the 1950's the facilities were poor for cancer care. Rosalind worked with X-rays a lot and that could be one of the reasons she contracted the disease at an early age. She continued working at her lab while she was in remission and her team came up with very important research findings especially in the study of viruses. Great !

Have you visited Rosalind Franklin University ? It is in the USA.

Brian Miller said...

interesting and eye def dont hear her name in the history books...what is cool to me is that facing her own ailment to cancer she pressed forward making these does not surprise me that her name is suppressed as much as it saddens me...this is the society we create and harbor...letting the big man take the credit for the little...

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Hi Brian, thanks a lot for this beautiful comment.

As indicated in the post I was deeply disturbed when I read her story. I fully agree with you. If something goes wrong the employee is at fault and the whole blame falls upon him but if everything attains success it is the boss who takes the full credit. On the platform where they give awards we see only the 'big men'. Please read more about her then you will get a better picture. Very sad, indeed !

A remarkable woman, awesome talent ! Kudos to Google for honoring her !

Please visit again and add comments. Added you on my blog follow list, subscribed to your blog feeds and decided to follow you on twitter, if you have an account there ! Thanks once again !