Five Facets of Photography – Photographs that Changed the World: Rosalind Franklin Photo 51

Photo 51, Rosalind Franklin

In May 1952 Rosalind Franklin photographed her fifty-first X-ray diffraction pattern of deoxyribosenucleic acid, or DNA.  It revealed information about DNA´s three-dimensional structure by displaying the way a beam of X-rays scattered off a pure fibre of DNA. Maurice Wilkins, Franklin´s colleague, showed James Watson and Francis Crick the photograph without Franklin´s knowledge. Watson and Crick used that image to develop their structural model of DNA. In 1962, after Franklin´s death from cancer aged 38 in 1958, Watson, Crick, and Wilkins shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their findings about DNA.

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