Rosalind Elsie Franklin

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Franklin, Rosalind Elsie,

1920–58, English molecular biologist and chemist, grad. Newnham College, Cambridge (1941). She spent most of the war years (1942–45) working for the British Coal Utilisation Research Association, investigating the physical chemistry of carbon and coal; her research there led to her doctorate at Cambridge (1945). After working with Jacques Méring at the State Chemical Laboratory, Paris (1947–50), where she studied X-ray diffraction technology, Franklin joined the Biophysical Laboratory, King's College, London (1951–53) and Crystallography Laboratory, Birkbeck College, London (1953–58). Her skillful studies contributed directly to the discovery of the structure and function of DNA (see nucleic acidnucleic acid,
any of a group of organic substances found in the chromosomes of living cells and viruses that play a central role in the storage and replication of hereditary information and in the expression of this information through protein synthesis.
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), which won Francis CrickCrick, Francis Harry Compton,
1916–2004, English scientist, grad. University College, London, and Caius College, Cambridge. Crick was trained as a physicist, and from 1940 to 1947 he served as a scientist in the admiralty, where he designed circuitry for naval mines.
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, James WatsonWatson, James Dewey,
1928–, American biologist and educator, b. Chicago, Ill., grad. Univ. of Chicago, 1947, Ph.D. Univ. of Indiana, 1950. With F. H. C. Crick he began (1951) research on the molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) at the Cavendish Laboratory at
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, and Maurice WilkinsWilkins, Maurice Hugh Frederick,
1916–2004, British biophysicist, b. New Zealand, Ph.D. Univ. of Birmingham, 1940. He conducted research at the Univ. of St. Andrews, Scotland, and at Kings College, the Univ. of London (from 1946 until his death). In Berkeley, Calif.
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 the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. She also led research on the structure of RNA plant viruses, most notably tobacco mosaic virus, on which she worked with Aaron KlugKlug, Sir Aaron
, 1926–2018, British biochemist, b. Lithuania. Raised and educated in South Africa, he moved to England and completed his doctorate at Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1953.
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See biographies by B. Maddox (2002) and A. Sayre (rev. ed. 2009).