This week, our Tinkerer from History is Rosalind Franklin! Learn more about this “Dark Lady of DNA” under the cut.
Although her work in X-ray diffraction was fundamental in establishing the “double-helix” structure of DNA, she wasn’t recognized for it until decades later. Could you believe that before Franklin, biologists and chemists could only guess what DNA looked like?
Franklin’s imaging also helped build our understanding of what viruses looked like. Like all great Tinkerers, she combined curiosity and determination with creativity and resourcefulness. She figured out how to use new scientific techniques to reveal one of the greatest mysteries of nature.Her discoveries were used by other scientists in work that led to two Nobel Prizes, one in Medicine and one in Chemistry. Even during World War II, Franklin continued her research and even bravely volunteered as an Air Raid Warden to make sure everyone was safe.
Fun Fact: Franklin loved backpacking, and even hiked the French Alps!
Keep an eye 👀out for our next Tinkerer!