Why 'the Dark Lady'? It was in these terms that Rosalind Franklin
was described in 1953 by a fellow scientist at King's College
London, Maurice Wilkins. He and Rosalind had brought out the worst
in each other and, like several others at King's, Wilkins was
delighted when she moved to do her research at Birkbeck College.
She was maligned even more in James Watson's book, The Double
Helix, in which he gave his famous and exciting account of the
discovery of the structure of DNA. There he caricatured Franklin as
a dowdy, selfish, bad-tempered woman who would not share the
scientific findings she did not herself understand. In this lucidly
written and fascinating biography Brenda Maddox sets the record
straight and pays tribute to a distinguished scientist who, in
spite of the difficulties placed in her way by a frequently
misogynistic working environment, made an immensely important
contribution to the work on the molecular structure of genes, the
secret of life. Reading letters written to and by Rosalind from
childhood until her death from ovarian cancer when she was in her
early 30s and speaking to the scientists with whom she worked,
including Crick, Watson and Wilkins, Maddox has been able to paint
the portrait of a dedicated, hard-working and courageous woman who
had made a name for herself and published many papers long before
she came to King's. She was loyal to her Jewish family and never
afraid to speak her mind. Not one to suffer fools gladly, she could
be brusque but she could and did inspire love and loyalty and was
mourned not only by friends and family but also by colleagues in
Paris and London. It is rare to find writing as clear as this;
complicated scientific experiments and problems are carefully
explained so that both the scientist and the non-scientist can
understand and enjoy this book. Watson and Crick of the Cavendish
Laboratory in Cambridge, along with Maurice Wilkins, were awarded
the Nobel prize. Years later, Rosalind Franklin's part in the
discoveries was acknowledged; there is even a building at King's
College London named after her and Wilkins. The tragedy of this
story is imagining what more she might have achieved had she lived.
'A most moving and important biography, as well as an impressive account of a major event in the history of science'
Lewis Wolpert, 'Literary Review'
Although Rosalind Franklin took the crucial photograph of DNA revealing its double helix structure, her work was overlooked when, four years after her death, three men – Maurice Wilkins of King's College London, Francis Crick of the Cavendish Laboratory and James Watson of Cambridge – were awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery of DNA.
In this compelling biography of Franklin, Brenda Maddox tells the story of a remarkably single-minded, forthright and tempestuous young woman, who at the age of fifteen decided she wanted to be a scientist, but who was airbrushed out of the greatest scientific discovery of the twentieth century.
'Maddox is a dab hand at drawing a heroine out from behind the long shadows cast by men and her Franklin emerges as a determined, combative woman – a perfectionist who is plagued with self doubt'
Vanessa Thorpe, 'Observer'
'This magnificent biography gives a gripping yet nuanced account that resists the stock story-line of Franklin as the wronged heroine. What really happened is far more intriguing.'
Gail Vines, 'Independent'
'An exhilarating and vivid tale of scientific and personal politics at a time of rapid change in British science.'
Jane Gregory, 'New Scientist'
Is the information for this product incomplete, wrong or inappropriate?
Let us know about it.
Does this product have an incorrect or missing image?
Send us a new image.
Is this product missing categories?
Add more categories.
Review This Product
No reviews yet - be the first to create one!