This Jewish Scientist Made Pivotal Discoveries That Were Almost Forgotten

Two men may have gotten the Nobel Prize for discovering DNA, but it wouldn't have happened without Rosalind Franklin.

In 1962, scientists James Watson and Francis Crick famously won a Nobel Prize for a discovery that would change the world. That discovery was that DNA, the molecule that carries the genetic code underlying every living thing, is composed of two chains that twist around each other to form a double helix. 

It was an incredible leap in the scientific field, but here’s the thing — the discovery was made possible by a Jewish female researcher, who got no credit. Zilch. Nada. 

Rosalind Franklin’s expertise in X-Ray diffraction techniques pieced together the puzzle of DNA’s structure. In 1952, a decade before Watson and Crick’s global recognition, the Jewish scientist captured an image that proved DNA had a helical structure. That photo came to be known as Photo 51. 

Tragically, Franklin died of cancer at the age of 37, just four years before the male scientists were awarded a Nobel Prize, leaving her contribution all but forgotten. 

To learn more about her legacy in this short video:

Arielle Kaplan

Arielle Kaplan (she/her) makes content for horny Jews. Brooklyn based, she hosts Alma’s weekly Torah series, And God Was Like, co-hosts Oral History, a podcast on seductresses from Cleopatra to Jessica Rabbit, and moonlights as a sex influencer as Whoregasmic on Instagram. Find her bylines on Salty Magazine, Kveller, The Nosher, and JTA.

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