In 1952, Rosalind Franklin was at King’s College London investigating the atomic arrangement of DNA, using her skills as an X-ray crystallographer to create images for analysis.
One of her team’s pictures, known as Photo 51, provided the essential insights for Crick and Watson to build the first three-dimensional model of the two-stranded macromolecule.
It was one of the supreme achievements of 20th Century science, enabling researchers to finally understand how DNA stored, copied and transmitted the genetic “code of life”.
Crick, Watson, and King’s colleague Maurice Wilkins, received the 1962 Nobel Prize for the breakthrough.
Franklin’s untimely death meant she could not be considered for the award (Nobels are not awarded posthumously). However, many argue that her contribution has never really been given the attention it deserves, and has even been underplayed.