Aaron Klug, Rosalind Franklin's collaborator at Birkbeck college for the four years before her death in 1958, here clarified
a potentially misleading statement Crick had made about Franklin's character and scientific method in his essay, "How
to Live with a Golden Helix" (The Sciences, vol. 19, Sept. 1979, pp. 6-9), namely that she was rigid and lacked intuition.
Crick and Watson have struggled on several occasions over the course of their careers to fully assess Franklin's personality
and her contribution to the discovery of the DNA double helix.
Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (70,407 Bytes)
1979-09-18 (September 18, 1979)
Prepared: Brightwell, J. A.
Original Repository: Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Francis Harry Compton Crick Papers
Thanks for your letter of 5th September. A few days earlier I received a letter from Charlotte Friend enclosing her letter
to The Sciences, and your article. A copy of my reply is enclosed.
However, now that you have raised the matter, I have read your article more carefully, and I do think there is one place where
you are not quite fair to her. You say she was "too determined to be scientifically sound" and I think this will
sound rather damning to most readers who will take the term literally. I would think by your criterion, large numbers of
our colleagues could be equally found wanting. Perhaps you could change it in the book to be published. The fact is that
in Paris she was quite ready to accept advice (from people like Mering, not only Luzzati), whereas the reaction she might
have had to you yourself would, I imagine, have been coloured by her contacts with Jim.
I would suggest a phrase which suggested a lack of flexibility, because there was no doubt about the soundness of her work
in the ordinary sense. An afterthought: I now see there is a second way in which your phrase could be read, namely she was
determined to follow a conservative, X-ray analytical course and not allow other considerations to enter. Presumably this
is what you intended, but even so, it could easily be misunderstood.