Would Rosalind Franklin have won a Nobel for her work on viruses?

Tobacco mosaic virus cc
An electronmicrograph of tobacco mosaic virus.

If she had survived, the scientist Rosalind Franklin would be 93 on Thursday, July 25th.

Franklin is best known for her contribution to the discovery of the fine molecular structure of DNA – deoxyribonucleic acid. Four years after her death, the Nobel prize was awarded to Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins for the discovery.

It is fun to speculate whether if Franklin had survived she would have been awarded the Nobel for the structure of DNA. But it is perhaps even more interesting to wonder if she might have eventually been awarded a Nobel for her other work, using x-ray diffraction to understand the structure of tobacco mosaic virus, the first virus discovered.

Read the full article here: Would Rosalind Franklin have won a Nobel for her work on viruses?

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Additional Resources:

  • Rosalind Franklin’s Legacy,” PBS
    Read excerpts from an interview with Lynne Osman Elkin, a professor of biological sciences at California State University, Hayward, on Rosalind Franklin’s contributions to biological science.
  • double helix: 50 years of DNA, Nature
    Check out Nature’s archive of stories and journal articles on the discovery of the structure of DNA, created back in April, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the discovery
  • The Rosalind Franklin Papers, Wellcome Trust
    Browse Wellcome Collection materials on Rosalind Franklin, including scans of handwritten historical documents.

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