Monday, May 19, 2008

Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA

Author: Brenda Maddox

First line: The family into which Rosalind Elsie Franklin was born on 25 July 1920, stood high in Anglo-Jewry.

Why you should read this book: Intensely researched and details, this book recounts the life of the extraordinary scientist, Rosalind Franklin, whose X-ray evidence formed the basis of Watson and Crick's discovery of the shape of the DNA molecule, and whose other research into coal and viruses advanced the understanding of many other molecules. From her childhood as an "alarmingly clever" girl who did math problems for fun, to her war work on coal and carbon, her two-year stint working on DNA at King's College, her later work on viruses, and her untimely death from cancer at thirty-seven years old, Maddox paints a clear picture of Franklin's strengths, weaknesses, joys, and defeats. This is an intelligent, uncompromising biography that seeks to build on facts to dispel the positive and negative mythmaking that has transformed Rosalind into a caricature for some and a goddess for others.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You make a practice of borrowing others' research without their knowledge or consent.

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