Brief Chronology

  • 1920 --Born Rosalind Elsie Franklin in London, July 25th
  • 1931-38 --Educated at St. Paul's Girls School, London
  • 1938 --Entered Newnham College, Cambridge University
  • 1941 --BA in Physical Chemistry, Cambridge University
  • 1941-42 --Research on the kinetics of polymerization reaction at the Physical Chemistry Laboratory, Cambridge
  • 1942-46 --Research on colloidal properties of coals and cokes at the British Coal Utilisation Research Association (BCURA) Assistant Research Officer
  • 1945 --Received PhD in Physical Chemistry from Cambridge
  • 1947-51 --Directed a research group in x-ray diffraction studies of carbons at the Laboratoire Central des Services Chimiques de l'Etat in Paris
  • 1951-53 --Assembled an x-ray diffraction laboratory at King's College, London, to research the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); discovered that DNA can take two forms, "A" and "B"; produced diffraction photo of B form of DNA that confirmed Watson and Crick's theory of its double-helix structure
  • 1953 --James Watson and Francis Crick announced their discovery of DNA structure in Nature on April 25, 1953. Franklin and Raymond Gosling published x-ray findings in same issue, noting that they are consistent with the model proposed by Crick and Watson
  • 1953-58 --At invitation of J. D. Bernal, directed research on x-ray diffraction studies of plant viruses, particularly the tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) at Birkbeck College, London. Determined the configuration of TMV and the location of its RNA
  • Summer 1954 --First visit to United States; presentations at coal research conference, and visits to many virus research labs
  • Summer 1956 --Second visit to United States for conference presentations and visits to colleagues in virus research labs
  • Fall 1956 --Diagnosed with ovarian cancer
  • 1958 --Died in London on April 16th