Rosalind Elsie Franklin was a British biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer who made critical contributions to the understanding of the fine molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite.Watson publicly revealed in 1968 that he and Crick stole Franklin's results without telling her or properly crediting her.
Maybe her work would have been discovered anyway. Crick admitted in a 1961 letter:
On the matter of Maurice Wilkins. I think his contribution was twofold. He indicated the careful x-ray work on DNA, and since 1953 he has done numerous extensive, accurate and painstaking studies on it. It is true that he has worked rather slowly, but then hardly anybody else has done anything. However, the data which really helped us to obtain the structure was mainly obtained by Rosalind Franklin, who died a few years ago. It should also be remembered that for a whole year Jim and I tried to get Maurice to solve the structure by our approach, without success. It was only after we learnt of Pauling's structure that we asked and obtained Maurice's permission to work on the problem. Nevertheless, for the last eight years Maurice has done all the hard work on the problem and that should be recognized.Wilkins and Watson have a history of badmouthing Franklin. Watson even claimed that he was afraid that she would physically attack him.
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