My Sister Rosalind Franklin: A Family Memoir 9780199699629: Jenifer Glynn – Jenifer Glynn is sister to Rosalind Franklin, whose pioneering X-ray crystallography work provide the key insights needed by Watson and Crick to unravel the double helix of DNA. Much has been written about her role in the rapid advent of molecular biology in the 1950s, but Glynn offers a family perspective on the woman, the scientist, the sister.
Franklin, of course, died prematurely of ovarian cancer and was not cited in the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, the committee makes no posthumous awards. The Prize was shared by Crick, Watson and fellow King’s scientist Maurice Wilkins. It has been a point of contention over the years that her vital role in painstakingly crystallising DNA and recording its X-ray diffraction patterns is marginalised by the flamboyant and wonderful work of Watson and Crick.
Franklin, however, was worked in areas other than DNA. She provided unique and invaluable insights into carbon structures, which essentially underpin our understanding of supposedly “modern” forms of carbons such as nanotubes, fullerenes, and graphene. She also later worked on viral structures to great success.
In this family memoir sister and historian Glynn considers Franklin’s tragically short life, her early education, her student days at Cambridge, and her time in Paris and at King’s College London where she crystallised science’s early thoughts on DNA.