As fun as that snark was, it was mostly inaccurate. Well, sort of. Certainly a gross simplification. Although it may be ironic that despite people thinking Franklin was completely overlooked because of sexual discrimination, she's probably better remembered than Maurice Wilkins, despite his larger contribution to the structure in the grand scheme of things. It's an odd thing, but it underscores how people think in stories, and the idea that an underdog that was discriminated against made a pivotal discovery makes for a great story! pathetic 15:10, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
- I tweaked the lead paragraph, as it gave no context as to why RW has an article on her. She is primarily famous today because of the whole controversy about "was she overlooked?". Feel free to improve, but IMO the lead has to at least acknowledge that point. VOXHUMANA 01:50, 20 June 2012 (UTC)
> This would be a good point, if it weren't for one fact that is often forgotten when Franklin's apparent "snub" is brought up. Franklin died in 1958 while the Prize, which cannot be awarded posthumously, was awarded in 1962.
I was expecting better from the so-called RationalWiki, as this is an obvious example of sciolism and poor research. Until 1974, the prize could be awarded posthumously, as long as s/he had been nominated before the February of that year. Had Franklin been nominated for an award up to 1958, the year of her death, she could have been considered for a Prize that year. After 50 years, when the sealed 1958 Nobel documents were opened (in 2008), they showed that she had never been nominated in first place (neither of course she had been nominated in the previous years). To note that the discovery the DNA's double helix was made on 1953, and that the rules of Franklin’s era indicated that the award was in recognition of discoveries made “during the preceding year.”
> Additionally, her contribution to the structure of DNA was arguably modest; Photo 51 merely suggested a roughly helical shape ...
This is subjective and whoever wrote this just states his personal opinion. I believe that her contribution was vital, and as great as that of, the double helix hypothesis "originators", Watson, Crick and Wilkins. On a neutral ground it was essential to formulate the model. (In contrast to theoretical physics, biology was developed upon data.) Her DNA crystallography allowed Watson and Crick to look at the picture to determine it was a double helix and not a triple helix as Linus Pauling had thought, and it was her report that convinced Crick and Watson that the backbones had to be on the outside. It didn't "merely suggested" a roughly helical shape, it was actually this photo that on a way created the theory (or more properly, put it on the right tracks).
Also, unpublished drafts of her papers showed that she had independently determined a large part of the structure. If it wasn't for her data's unauthorized use, it could have been her that will have uncovered the DNA double helix model.
Nevertheless, Franklin, Wilkins, Watson and Crick (and Pauling, someone can say), were all important on one way or another for this great discovery. But, Franklin's work was far from modest and there is a reason that some people believe that she should have been awarded a Nobel prize.
- Harriet A. Washington, Don’t Forget Rosalind Franklin, 2012-12-31
- Simon Frantz, Nobel Prize posthumous rules explained, 2011-10-03
- Wikipedia, Rosalind Franklin
- Linus Pauling And The Race for DNA, Rosalind Franklin
- Will add references and fix that up. I still think her contribution was relatively modest (the helical structure was suspected prior to Franklin's involvement, she wasn't the game-maker), at least in contrast to her Tobacco Mosaic research, which is largely forgotten in the popular consciousness thanks to her being treated as a feminist martyr rather than a scientist. theist 12:10, 26 July 2013 (UTC)