William Astbury worked with hairdressers to understand the molecular properties of hair that allowed for perms, and he took a crack at the structure of DNA, having taken X-ray pictures of it 15 years before James Watson and Francis Crick saw one. "He got pretty close, but there were aspects to the DNA puzzle which he could not have solved in 1938," says Bruce Turnbull at Leeds University in the Guardian. "Later scientists built on his work and his 'pile of pennies' description of DNA was not so far from the answer they correctly described, the double helix," he adds. Astbury is now being honored by the UK's Royal Society and with an exhibition in a Leeds museum.
A Bit of the Spotlight
Nov 24, 2010