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In Honor of Rosalind Franklin

The Google Doodle honors Rosalind Franklin, who would have turned 93 today. Franklin, a biophysicist and x-ray crystallographer, took the image that helped James Watson and Francis Crick determine the structure of DNA. They published that work in Nature in 1953, with Franklin's contribution noted in the acknowledgements.

Franklin's coworker at King's College London, Maurice Wilkins, showed Franklin's images — including the one known as Photo 51 — to Watson and Crick without her knowledge. Crick later said, according to the Guardian, that their DNA structure was based on Franklin's data, and Watson also has acknowledged that seeing Franklin's image was a "key event" in determining the structure of DNA, the Christian Science Monitor adds.

Franklin died in 1958 at the age of 37 from ovarian cancer, four years before Crick, Watson, and Wilkins received the Nobel Prize for that work, as the Guardian notes. The Nobel is not awarded posthumously.