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Rosalind Elsie Franklin was a British chemist who made a major contribution in the discovery of DNA’s double helix structure. She also contributed in the foundations of the structure of viruses, particularly the tobacco mosaic virus. Rosalind Franklin’s contributions and studies became some of the most important foundations of science.
See the fact file below for more information on the Rosalind Franklin or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Rosalind Franklin worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY LIFE & FAMILY
- Rosalind Franklin was born on July 25, 1920 in Notting Hill, London.
- She was born into an prominent and wealthy British-Jewish family.
- Her parents were Ellis Arthur Franklin and Muriel Frances Waley.
- Rosalind had four siblings – David, Colin, Roland, and Jenifer – and she was born the second child.
- Her middle name, “Elsie,” was taken after her uncle’s wife.
- Her father taught at the Working Men’s College.
- He imparted knowledge on the topics of magnetism, electricity, magnetism, and the history of the Great War.
- Her father eventually became Vice Principal of the Working Men’s College.
- As a child, Rosalind was an exceptional and clever student.
- She entered Norland Place School, a private school in West London at the age of six.
- When she was nine, she began to attend Lindores School for Young Ladies, a boarding school in Sussex.
- When she was eleven, she entered St Paul’s Girls’ School, an all girls school in West London where physics and chemistry was taught.
- Young Rosalind excelled in science, sports, and Latin.
- She also became fluent in French.
- She was always at the top of her class and she would reap academic awards every year.
- Because of her excellent academic record, she was able to get a scholarship for university in 1938.
- Her father asked her to award the scholarship to a refugee student who needed the scholarship more instead.
- In 1938, Franklin entered the Newnham College in Cambridge where she studied chemistry.
- In Newnham College, she met Bill Price, who was her laboratory demonstrator and became one of her senior colleagues at King’s College London.
- In her senior year at Cambridge, she met a former student of Marie Curie named Adrienne Weill who became a major influence on her career.
- She received a research fellowship in physical chemistry at Cambridge upon her graduation.
IMPACT OF WORLD WAR II
- Rosalind’s plans changed when World War II called her to serve as an air raid warden in London.
- In 1942, she gave up the fellowship in Cambridge.
- She then worked for the British Coal Utilisation Research Association.
- She studied the chemistry of carbon and coal for the war effort.
- Her research became her doctoral thesis and in 1948, she was awarded a doctorate from Cambridge.
CAREER & CONTRIBUTIONS
- From 1947 to 1950, she studied X-ray diffraction technology with Jacques Méring at the State Chemical Laboratory in Paris.
- The diffraction research led her to study the changes in structure caused by the graphite formation in heated carbons.
- In 1951, Franklin started working as a research fellow in the Biophysical Laboratory at King’s College, London.
- She began her research on DNA structure.
- At the time, very little was known about the structure of DNA.
- She was able to apply her experience with X-ray diffraction to her DNA research.
- Franklin discovered the density of DNA.
- She also established that the structure of DNA was helical.
- She focused on making clear X-ray patterns of DNA molecules.
- Franklin’s research was the basis for James Watson and Francis Crick’s theory that the structure of DNA is a double helix.
- Franklin worked in the Crystallography Laboratory at Birkbeck College, London from 1953 to 1958.
- Her work in Birkbeck College covered research on coals and on DNA.
- There she also started a project on the structure of tobacco mosaic virus molecules.
- Her studies showed that the RNA (ribonucleic acid) in tobacco mosaic virus was a single-stranded helix embedded in its protein.
- One of Rosalind’s biggest contributions in science is the establishment of the structure of DNA as a double-helix polymer.
- A double helix polymer would mean that there are two DNA strands spiraling around each other.
- One of her notable colleagues at King’s College London was Maurice Wilkins.
- Franklin and Wilkins had a misunderstanding that led to a difficult clash.
- Instead of working together on researching the structure of DNA, they decided to work separately.
- Wilkins went to a laboratory in Cambridge where his friend Francis Crick was working with James Crick.
- Watson and Crick saw Franklin’s data and used it with their own data to create their famous DNA model.
- Franklin’s contribution was not noted as the model was published.
DEATH & LEGACY
- Franklin died of cancer in 1958. Her involvement in breakthrough research on DNA and her on-the-rise career was sadly cut short.
Rosalind Franklin Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Rosalind Franklin across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Rosalind Franklin worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Rosalind Elsie Franklin who was a British chemist who made a major contribution in the discovery of DNA’s double helix structure. She also contributed in the foundations of the structure of viruses, particularly the tobacco mosaic virus. Rosalind Franklin’s contributions and studies became some of the most important foundations of science.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Rosalind Franklin Facts
- Who’s Miss Franklin?
- Franklin’s Family
- The Franklin Crossword
- Franklin or False
- Peek into the Past
- DNA Discovery
- Watson and Crick
- Female Scientists
- Last Will
- Dear Ms. Franklin
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Link will appear as Rosalind Franklin Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 21, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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