Ombretta Masala’s favorite structure is:

Franklin’s famous “photograph 51” that finally revealed the helical structure of DNA




It was Franklin’s famous X-ray diffraction photo that finally revealed the helical structure of DNA to Watson and Crick in 1953.

It is my favourite because it solved the puzzle of the elusive structure of the DNA and I like the story behind. Franklin was robbed of recognition because Photo 51 enabled Watson, Crick, and Wilkins to deduce the correct structure for DNA, which they published in a series of articles in the journal Nature in April 1953 without Franklin. Franklin’s image of the DNA molecule was key to deciphering its structure, but only Watson, Crick, and Wilkins received the 1962 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their work (Franklin died four years earlier and Nobel prizes aren’t awarded posthumously).

It is thought as one of the most well-known—and shameful—instances of a researcher being robbed of credit and in particular of a woman scientist who was snubbed due to sexism. —Ombretta Masala

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