Google doodle celebrates Rosalind Franklin, DNA research pioneer

July 25, 2013 at 3:18 PM
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MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., July 25 (UPI) -- A Google doodle is celebrating the birth date of British biophysicist Rosalind Franklin, whose work helped uncover the double helix shape of DNA.

Franklin, born July 25, 1920, was a crystallographer whose work at Kings College capturing X-ray diffraction images of DNA helped in the discovery of the DNA's double helix.

Her data was the central evidence used to form a 1953 hypothesis regarding the structure of DNA that led to the 1962 Nobel Prize awarded to Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins.

Franklin died of ovarian cancer in 1958 at age 37 and was thus ineligible for Nobel Prize nomination in 1962, as Nobel prizes are never awarded posthumously.

Crick wrote in 1961 that Franklin's data were "the data we actually used" to formulate their hypothesis on the structure of DNA.

In the Google doodle Franklin's face is seen in the second 'O' and the DNA double helix in the 'L'. The 'E' is a depiction of Photo 51 -- Franklin's X-ray diffraction image that was instrumental in allowing Watson and Crick to crack DNA's structure.

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