The Bank of England has asked the public to nominate a scientist to be the face of Britain's new £50 note. We've teamed up with Ovacome, The Eve Appeal and Ovarian Cancer Action to rally votes for the scientist Rosalind Franklin.
Rosalind Franklin was a talented scientist and expert crystallographer whose work led to the discovery of DNA. In 1952, Franklin and her PhD student Raymond Gosling captured the famous 'Photograph 51' - arguably now the most famous X-ray in the world, as it revealed the double helix structure of DNA for the first time.
Without her knowledge or consent, Franklin's colleague Maurice Wilkins showed her X-ray to competing scientists Sir Francis Crick and James Watson. The image provided the vital clue to the structure of DNA and the pair went on to publish their discovery of DNA in Nature Magazine. Franklin was never acknowledged for her contribution to the discovery, and her male peers later went on to win a Nobel Prize. At the age of 37, Franklin died of ovarian cancer. It is said that her death disqualified her from winning a Nobel Prize along with Crick and Watson, as they are only awarded to those who can collect them.
Having ovarian cancer at such a young age can be linked to hereditary risk, and being of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, Franklin may have carried a BRCA gene mutation that increased her risk of ovarian cancer. It is with her early contribution to discovering DNA that we can perform genetic testing today, and BRCA positive women can significantly reduce their cancer ris through surveillance and risk-reducing surgeries.
Since Franklin's death, there has been a growing recognition for her research into the molecular structure of coal, viruses and of course, DNA, but lots of people still don't know who she was. With the Bank of England looking for a scientist to be the face of Britain's new £50 note, we think it's time Rosalind Franklin got the recognition she deserves.
Here's how to vote for Rosalind Franklin to be the new face of Britain's £50 note:
Select: A scientist
Name of nominee: Rosalind Franklin
Suggested explanation: Rosalind Franklin was a talented scientist and X-ray crystallographer. She helped the world understand the molecular structure of coal, numerous viruses and DNA. She died young of ovarian cancer, missing out on a Nobel Prize.