FRANKLIN, ROSALIND ELSIE

FRANKLIN, ROSALIND ELSIE
FRANKLIN, ROSALIND ELSIE (1920–1958), British biophysicist. Franklin was born in London, England, into an upper middle class Jewish family whose ancestors had come to England from Breslau in 1763. Her uncle, sir herbert samuel , was the first British High Commissioner to Palestine. In 1938 she was accepted to Newnham College Cambridge where she completed her studies in chemistry and physics and received her Ph.D. from Cambridge in the physical chemistry of carbon and graphite micro-structures (1945). During the war years she focused her research efforts on the analysis of high-strength carbon fibers, working at the British Coal Utilization Research Association (BCURA), work that later found use in the construction of carbon rods in modern nuclear power plants. She moved to Paris and lived there from 1947 to 1951, joining the Central Government Laboratory for Chemistry. Working under Jacques Mering she became proficient in X-ray diffraction analysis of coal structure. During this time, in addition to her science she perfected her French and culinary arts, embraced French fashion, and generally enjoyed the freedom and respect as a scientist and colleague, devoid of the prejudice women had to endure in England. Nonetheless, as a foreigner in France, she understood that it would be hard for her to establish herself as an independent researcher and so she returned to England and joined Kings College in London under Sir John Randall. It was here that she produced the essential basic data that paved the way for James Watson and Francis Crick of Cambridge University to propose the double helix structure of DNA, the molecule that genes are made of. At Kings College she and Maurice Wilkins independently studied DNA structure. Franklin perfected the X-ray diffraction equipment and technology to produce highly focused X-ray beams to study the fine DNA fibers she was able to extract. She soon discovered that DNA could assume two forms, which she called A and B. Through painstaking work and extreme care and patience in sample preparation   she produced photographs of both A and B forms that led her to conclude that DNA was a double helical molecule in which the phosphate atoms must be on the outside of the structure and the nitrogen bases facing inside. These conclusions and Franklin's X-ray photographs enabled Watson and Crick to propose their double helix model of DNA in which base pairing created the bonds necessary to hold the anti-parallel strands of DNA together. In 1953, she moved to Birkbeck College to establish a new laboratory dedicated to the study of nucleic-acid protein complexes (when she left Kings College Sir Randall demanded that she stop working on DNA\!). Franklin turned to the study of Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV) and with a young investigator, aaron klug , discovered that TMV was an extended tube in which its proteins were arranged in helical fashion with RNA (ribonucleic acid) embedded amongst the protein molecules. She made pivotal contributions in three areas of science; the analysis of the structure of carbon and coal, the elucidation of the structure of DNA, and the new field of structural virology as a pioneer. In 1956 she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Despite three operations and experimental chemotherapy she courageously continued her work on TMV and polio virus until her dying day. Four years later, Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins received the Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology for their discoveries concerning the structure of DNA. In 1982 Sir Aaron Klug was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his structural elucidation of biologically important nucleic acid-protein complexes. It is not by chance that such profound science was so intimately associated with Rosalind Franklin. At the age of 37 she died of ovarian cancer, with little recognition of her monumental contributions to modern biophysics. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Maddox, Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA (2002); A. Piper, "Light on a Dark Lady," in: Trends in Biochem. Sci. 23 (1998), 151–54; J.D. Watson, The Double Helix (1968). (Jonathan Gershoni (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Franklin, Rosalind (Elsie) — born July 25, 1920, London, Eng. died April 16, 1958, London British biologist. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, she conducted important experimental work for the coal and coke industries. She later produced the X ray… …   Universalium

  • Franklin, Rosalind (Elsie) — (25 jul. 1920, Londres, Inglaterra–16 abr. 1958, Londres). Bióloga británica. Después de graduarse en la Universidad de Cambridge, realizó trabajos experimentales relevantes para la industria del carbón y del coque. Posteriormente produjo las… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Rosalind Elsie Franklin — Rosalind Franklin (ca. 1956) Rosalind Elsie Franklin (* 25. Juli 1920 in London; † 16. April 1958 ebenda) war eine Biochemikerin und Spezialistin für die Röntgenstrukturanalyse von kristallisierten Makromolekülen. Als Wissenschaftlerin leistete… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Rosalind Elsie Franklin — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Franklin. Rosalind Elsie Franklin (25 juillet 1920 – 16 avril 1958) est une biologiste moléculaire britannique qui participa à la découverte de la structure de l ADN. Sommaire 1 Biographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Franklin, Rosalind — ▪ British scientist in full  Rosalind Elsie Franklin   born July 25, 1920, London, Eng. died April 16, 1958, London  British scientist who contributed to the discovery of the molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a constituent of… …   Universalium

  • Rosalind Franklin — Rosalind Elsie Franklin Rosalind Elsie Franklin (* 25. Juli 1920 in London; † 16. April 1958 ebenda) war eine Biochemikerin und Spezialistin für die Röntgenstrukturanalyse von kristallisierten Makromolekülen. Als Wissenschaftlerin leistete sie… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Rosalind Franklin — Rosalind Elsie Franklin Pour les articles homonymes, voir Franklin. Rosalind Franklin. Rosalind Elsie Franklin (25 juillet 1920 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Franklin — (de «Benjamín Franklin», científico y político estadounidense del siglo XVIII) m. Fís. Franklinio. * * * franklin. (De B. Franklin, 1706 1790, científico y político estadounidense). m …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • franklin — (de «Benjamín Franklin», científico y político estadounidense del siglo XVIII) m. Fís. Franklinio. * * * franklin. (De B. Franklin, 1706 1790, científico y político estadounidense). m. Fís. Unidad de carga eléctrica en el Sistema Cegesimal,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Rosalind Franklin — Infobox Scientist name = Rosalind Franklin image size = 125px caption = Rosalind Franklin birth date = 25 July 1920 birth place = Notting Hill, London, United Kingdom nationality = UK citizen death date = 16 April 1958 (age 37) death place =… …   Wikipedia

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