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Rosalind Franklin

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Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin was born on July 25, 1920 in Notting Hill, London. Franklin was born into an influential British-Jewish family. She was the oldest of four children. Her two loving parents, Ellis Arthur Franklin, and Muriel Frances Waley took in two Jewish children from Nazi Germany to live in their house. A woman whose father had been sent to Buchenwald was taken in as well and shared a room with Rosalind. Her father set up an organization for orphaned and homeless German-Jewish children which helped settle Jewish refugees who had escaped the nazis.

She knew that she wanted to be a scientist from the age of nine and what courses she would take by the age of fifteen. She always liked learning facts and was “logical and precise, and impatient with things that were otherwise.” (PBS) Upon turning nine years old, she was shipped off to boarding school. She hated it there though, because she was away from her family. To cope with this she sent letters home every week, staying optimistic for her parents. At eleven she switched schools and went to St. Paul’s Girl’s School. This was a day school and she was much happier there.

When she decided what she wanted to do with her life (become a scientist) she took the examination for the admission to Cambridge University, passing with flying colors. Her father did not approve of her university education and he refused to pay. One of her aunts stepped in and offered to pay for it, Franklin’s mother sided with the aunt until her father gave in. At Cambridge, she studied chemistry.

In 1951 she got a job as a research associate at King’s College London in the Medical Research Council’s Biophysics Unit. She was moved from working on x-ray diffraction of proteins and lipids, to DNA fibers. This is where she discovered on the x-ray that DNA was a double helix.

In 1956 she found a lump in her abdomen. She had two tumors which ended up being ovary cancer. She continued to work while undergoing...

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