Understanding structures

Rosalind Franklin (1920–1958)
Working notes on DNA

DNA was only established as the means of passing on inherited information in the early 1950s – the question then became how was it being transmitted? Rosalind Franklin trained in natural sciences at Cambridge and wrote a thesis on the molecular structure of forms of carbon. She became expert in using X-rays to reveal the structure of crystalline compounds, which allowed her to study the structure of DNA at King’s College, London. She developed new analytical techniques and produced the photographs from which Francis Crick and James Watson built their famous double-helical model of DNA.

Churchill Archives Centre, The Papers of Rosalind Franklin, FRKN 1/4
Manuscript on loan from Churchill College Archive, reproduced by kind permission of Jenifer Glynn

Extended captions