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Rosalind Franklin was born on July 25, 1920, in London.  She obtained her doctorate in physical chemistry in 1945 from Cambridge University and began to work in coal research during World War II.  After the war, she learned x-ray diffraction techniques in Paris before returning to London to investigate the structure of DNA.  She and her student, Raymond Gosling, discovered that DNA came in two forms, known as A and B.  Franklin was able to successfully obtain x-ray pictures that helped to reveal that DNA had a helical structure.  Her work was used by Watson and Crick, who in 1953 published a paper detailing a model of DNA that would win them the Nobel prize in 1962.  Unfortunately, Franklin died of ovarian cancer on April 16, 1958, and was therefore unable to share this award.
Rosalind Franklin was an extraordinary woman.  She worked in a field dominated by men and made significant discoveries that changed science forever.  She refused to accept the era’s traditional female role and instead followed her own dreams.  She is an example of what hard work and dedication can achieve, and that it is important to follow your heart, even if the odds are against you.

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