The double helix and the 'wronged heroine'

Nature. 2003 Jan 23;421(6921):407-8. doi: 10.1038/nature01399.


In 1962, James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins received the Nobel prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA. Notably absent from the podium was Rosalind Franklin, whose X-ray photographs of DNA contributed directly to the discovery of the double helix. Franklin's premature death, combined with misogynist treatment by the male scientific establishment, cast her as a feminist icon. This myth overshadowed her intellectual strength and independence both as a scientist and as an individual.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait
  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Crystallography, X-Ray / history*
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / history*
  • England
  • Feminism / history*
  • History, 20th Century
  • Prejudice
  • Tobacco Mosaic Virus / chemistry


  • DNA

Personal name as subject

  • Rosalind Franklin